Equitable Estoppel

Equitable estoppel is an affirmative defense that generally prevents one party from misleading another to the other’s detriment or to the misleading party’s own benefit.

Under Texas law, the doctrine of equitable estoppel is available when a person with actual or constructive knowledge of material facts makes a false representation or conceals those facts to a party who doesn’t have knowledge or the means of obtaining knowledge of the facts, intending that party to act upon it.  Where the other party detrimentally relies on the representation or concealment, equitable estoppel comes into play.

The doctrine of equitable estoppel requires:

(1) a false representation or concealment of material facts;

(2) made with knowledge, actual or constructive, of those facts;

(3) with the intention that it should be acted on;

(4) to a party without knowledge or means of obtaining knowledge of the facts;

(5) who detrimentally relies on the representations

Estoppel is an equitable doctrine and its application depends on the facts of each case. The lynchpin for all equitable estoppel is equity.

Texas law includes a number of variations on the general principle of equitable estoppel, such as: 

  • interdependent and concerted misconduct estoppel
  • direct-benefit estoppel
  • substantial-benefit estoppel
  • quasi-estoppel

Quasi Estoppel

Quasi estoppel is an affirmative defense that precludes a party from asserting, to another’s disadvantage, a right inconsistent with a position previously taken. The doctrine applies when it would be unconscionable to allow a person to maintain a position inconsistent with one to which he acquiesced, or from which he accepted a benefit.

Unlike equitable estoppel, quasi-estoppel does not require a showing of a false representation or detrimental reliance.

Quasi-estoppel refers to certain legal bars, such as ratification, election, acquiescence, or acceptance of benefits.


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