Judicial Estoppel

After a short hiatus, the Maryland Lawyer Blog is back!

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in Kamp v. Dep’t of Human Resources yesterday involving a child support dispute in Garrett County.

The case involved a man who waited nearly 13 years to dispute the paternity of his ex-wife’s child even though he’d had a vasectomy years before she conceived and a DNA test confirmed the man was not the child’s father.

The opinion deals in part with an issue that is also important to personal injury lawyers in Maryland: judicial estoppel. The theory behind judicial estoppel is that litigants are not able to take positions contradictory to positions made previously during legal proceedings if such action would adversely affect the proceedings or bring the court into disrepute.

I still think there is a place for Maryland lawyers to plead in the alternative but this case will make you think it through a little more when you do that.

You can read the case or read Steve Lash’s article in the Maryland Daily Record. There are not a lot of Maryland lawyers that would find the lessons of this case inapplicable to their law practice.