The Beaumont Court of Appeals recently addressed the difference between judicial estoppel and a judicial admission. Plaintiff filed a claim with the EEOC and brought suit against defendant for gender discrimination. After her federal suit was dismissed, she sued the defendant in state court for unlawful termination based on her refusal to perform an illegal act. Defendant sought summary judgment arguing that plaintiff’s federal pleading consituted a judical admission that plaintiff had been fired because of her gender. In deciding the case, the court of appeals noted that the defendant moved for summary judgment on the basis of plaintiff’s alleged judicial admission, but the plaintiff’s response only addressed judicial estoppel. The court explained the difference:
Judicial admission and judicial estoppel are separate principles. Judicial estoppel is a rule of procedure based on justice and sound policy that bars a party from taking a position inconsistent with one taken in a earlier proceeding. A judicial admission, by contrast, results when a party makes a statement of fact which conclusively disproves a right of recovery or defense currently asserted.
The court then held that plaintiff’s statment in her federal pleadings that she was fired for gender discrimination constituted a judicial admission barring recovery on her state claim under Sabine Pilot that she was fired for refusing to perfom an illegal act. The court affirmed summary judgment for the defendant. The court’s opinion in Louviere v. Hearst Corp., can be found at this link.