Doe v. Tobias, 72S01-9902-CV-147.

Docket NºNo. 72S01-9902-CV-147.
Citation715 N.E.2d 829
Case DateAugust 31, 1999
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

715 N.E.2d 829

"Jane DOE," Appellant,
v.
Carl M. TOBIAS, Appellee

No. 72S01-9902-CV-147.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

August 31, 1999.


715 N.E.2d 830
Vicki L. Carmichael, Lonnie Thomas Cooper, Jeffersonville, Indiana, Attorneys for Appellant

Earl C. Mullins, Jr., Louisville, Kentucky, Attorney for Appellee.

ON PETITION TO TRANSFER

BOEHM, Justice.

We hold that a trial court should apply offensive collateral estoppel against a convicted criminal defendant on issues that were defended vigorously in the criminal case in the absence of a showing that it is unfair to the defendant to give conclusive effect to the conviction.

Factual and Procedural Background

A full recitation of the facts of Carl M. Tobias' criminal case is found in Tobias v. State, 666 N.E.2d 68 (Ind.1996). The facts relevant to this case are few. Tobias was convicted for the rape and sexual battery of a juvenile, "Doe," on August 5, 1994. He was sentenced to eight years on the rape conviction and one year on the sexual battery conviction. The Court of Appeals reversed Tobias' conviction, finding error in the reasonable doubt instruction given at the trial. Tobias v. State, 659 N.E.2d 246 (Ind.Ct.App. 1995). However, this Court granted transfer and affirmed the trial court. Tobias, 666 N.E.2d at 68.

Doe filed a civil complaint for damages against Tobias before the criminal case was tried, but the parties agreed that the civil case would not proceed until the appeal in the criminal case was completed. After this Court affirmed the conviction, Doe filed a motion for partial summary judgment in the civil case, asking the trial court to accept the criminal conviction as conclusive of Tobias' liability, but not damages. The motion was denied by the trial court.

An interlocutory appeal was taken, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of partial summary judgment. Doe v. Tobias, 700 N.E.2d 796 (Ind.Ct.App.1998). The court reasoned that under Tofany v. NBS Imaging Systems, Inc., 616 N.E.2d 1034 (Ind.1993), the trial court should be given great deference in determining the appropriateness of offensive collateral estoppel and should be reversed only on a showing that the trial court abused its discretion. Tobias, 700 N.E.2d at 801. In evaluating abuse of discretion the Court of Appeals held it was appropriate to give weight to any factors the trial court "could have" used in denying the use of offensive collateral estoppel. The Court of Appeals identified the possibilities that Tobias might introduce new evidence bearing on Doe's reliability as a witness, or that Tobias might pursue a new defense strategy as potential basis for the

715 N.E.2d 831
trial court's ruling and then found no abuse of discretion. Id. We granted transfer to address this issue. We reverse the trial court, and remand with instructions to enter partial summary judgment on the issue of liability in favor of Doe

The Effect of Indiana Code Section 34-3-18-1

In her motion for partial summary judgment, Doe relied in part on Indiana Code § 34-3-18-1 (1993),1 which provides:

Evidence of a final judgment, entered after a trial or upon a plea of guilty, adjudging a person guilty of a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one (1) year, shall be admissible in any civil action to prove any fact essential to sustaining the judgment, and is not excluded from admission as hearsay regardless of whether the declarant is available as a witness.

In Kimberlin v. DeLong, 637 N.E.2d 121 (Ind.1994), we held that this section renders a criminal conviction admissible as evidence in a civil trial, but the conviction "is not necessarily conclusive proof in the civil trial of the factual issues determined by the criminal judgment." Id. at 124. We adhere to the view that the statute provides for the admission of a judgment, but does not necessarily render it conclusive.

Offensive Collateral Estoppel

The statute is not the only source of preclusive effect. In Kimberlin we recognized that although evidence of a criminal conviction cannot be used as conclusive proof, it "may potentially provide a basis for the offensive use of collateral estoppel." Id. at 125. Collateral estoppel may bar the subsequent relitigation of a fact or issue that was necessarily adjudicated in a prior lawsuit. Id. (citing Sullivan v. American Casualty Co., 605 N.E.2d 134, 137 (Ind.1992)). Collateral estoppel is termed "offensive" when the "plaintiff seeks to foreclose the defendant from litigating an issue the defendant has previously litigated unsuccessfully in an action with another party." Id. (citing Parklane Hosiery Co. Inc. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 326 n. 4, 99 S.Ct. 645, 58 L.Ed.2d 552 (1979)).

Kimberlin upheld the trial court's decision to give offensive collateral estoppel effect to a criminal conviction. Id. Kimberlin, the popularly designated "Speedway Bomber," had previously been convicted of injuring people and destroying property by means of an explosive. Id. at 123. The injured parties in the explosion later sued Kimberlin, and the trial court granted partial summary judgment on the issue of liability. Id. at 123-24. We held that because the criminal charges were defended vigorously at trial and on appeal, and Kimberlin was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, this "clearly meets or exceeds the equivalence of a full and fair opportunity to litigate the facts determinative of his civil liability." Id. at 125.

In this case, it seems clear that if the trial court had...

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17 practice notes
  • Mayes v. City of Hammond, in, 2:03-CV-379-PRC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • July 5, 2006
    ...addressing the preclusive effect of a prior criminal conviction—Kimberlin v. DeLong, 637 N.E.2d 121, 125 (Ind.1994), and Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829, 832 (Ind.1999)— both dealt with final, valid judgments that had not been Although the Court could engage in an analysis of whether Mayes ha......
  • Alexander v. City of South Bend, 3:02-CV-0397 CAN.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • May 18, 2004
    ...in the later action which were unavailable to him in the previous action and which would likely affect the result. Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829, 832 In the present case, Plaintiff had ample incentive to litigate all matters in his criminal trials, See Id. at 832 (finding that a criminal de......
  • Reid v. State, 89A01-9806-CR-222.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 17, 1999
    ...where that issue or fact was necessarily adjudicated in a former lawsuit and is then presented in a subsequent lawsuit. Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829, 831 (Ind. 719 N.E.2d 455 1999) (citing Sullivan v. American Casualty Co., 605 N.E.2d 134, 137 (Ind.1992)). Collateral estoppel has been char......
  • Miller Brewing v. Indiana Dept. of State, 49S00-0711-TA-553.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 13, 2009
    ...precedent in applying issue preclusion. See, e.g., Tofany v. NBS Imaging Sys., Inc., 616 N.E.2d 1034, 1037 (Ind.1993); Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829 (Ind.1999). In general, issue preclusion bars subsequent litigation of the same fact or issue that was necessarily adjudicated in a former sui......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Mayes v. City of Hammond, in, 2:03-CV-379-PRC.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • July 5, 2006
    ...addressing the preclusive effect of a prior criminal conviction—Kimberlin v. DeLong, 637 N.E.2d 121, 125 (Ind.1994), and Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829, 832 (Ind.1999)— both dealt with final, valid judgments that had not been Although the Court could engage in an analysis of whether Mayes ha......
  • Alexander v. City of South Bend, 3:02-CV-0397 CAN.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • May 18, 2004
    ...in the later action which were unavailable to him in the previous action and which would likely affect the result. Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829, 832 In the present case, Plaintiff had ample incentive to litigate all matters in his criminal trials, See Id. at 832 (finding that a criminal de......
  • Reid v. State, 89A01-9806-CR-222.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 17, 1999
    ...where that issue or fact was necessarily adjudicated in a former lawsuit and is then presented in a subsequent lawsuit. Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829, 831 (Ind. 719 N.E.2d 455 1999) (citing Sullivan v. American Casualty Co., 605 N.E.2d 134, 137 (Ind.1992)). Collateral estoppel has been char......
  • Miller Brewing v. Indiana Dept. of State, 49S00-0711-TA-553.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 13, 2009
    ...precedent in applying issue preclusion. See, e.g., Tofany v. NBS Imaging Sys., Inc., 616 N.E.2d 1034, 1037 (Ind.1993); Doe v. Tobias, 715 N.E.2d 829 (Ind.1999). In general, issue preclusion bars subsequent litigation of the same fact or issue that was necessarily adjudicated in a former sui......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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