Standing to Bring a Case

Trial lawyer austin texas

Apr 30, 2013 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Civil Procedure

The issue of standing focuses on whether a party has a sufficient relationship with the lawsuit so as to have a justiciable interest in its outcome. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d at 848; City of Arlington, 232 S.W.3d at 244. Standing, therefore, focuses on who may bring an action, and is concerned with whether the claimant has a particularized injury distinct from that suffered by the general public. M.D. Anderson Cancer Ctr. v. Novak, 52 S.W.3d 704, 708 (Tex. 2001) (who may bring an action); Bland ISD v. Blue, 34 S.W.3d 547, 555-56 (Tex. 2000); City of Arlington, 232 S.W.3d at 244 (particularized injury). Standing requires that there be a real controversy between the parties that will actually be determined by the judicial declaration sought. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d at 849; City of Arlington, 232 S.W.3d at 244. This means that litigants must be "properly situated to be entitled to [a] judicial determination." Lovato, 171 S.W.3d at 849, quoting 13 CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT, ARTHUR R. MILLER, AND EDWARD H. COOPER, WRIGHT, MILLER &


A person who is personally aggrieved by the alleged wrong has standing to sue. Nootsie Ltd. v. Williamson County Appraisal Dist., 925 S.W.2d 659, 661 (Tex. 1996). A person has standing if (1) he has sustained, or is immediately in danger of sustaining, some direct injury as a result of the wrongful act of which he complains; (2) he has a direct relationship between the alleged injury and claim sought to be adjudicated; (3) he has a personal stake in the controversy;

(4) the challenged action has caused the plaintiff some injury in fact, either economic, recreational, environmental, or otherwise; or (5) he is an appropriate party to assert the public's interest in the matter, as well as his own. Nauslar, 170 S.W.3d at 249.

A plaintiff has no standing to litigate without a breach of a legal right belonging to the plaintiff. Nobles v. Marcus, 533 S.W.2d 923, 927 (Tex. 1976) ("Without breach of a legal right belonging to the plaintiff no cause of action can accrue to his benefit."); Nauslar, 170 S.W.3d at 249; Cadle Co. v. Lobingier, 50 S.W.3d 662, 669--70 (Tex. App. -- Fort Worth 2001, pet. denied); Brunson v. Woolsey, 63 S.W.3d 583, 587 (Tex. App. -- Fort Worth 2001, no pet.). Only the person whose primary legal right has been breached may seek redress for an injury. Nobles, 533 S.W.2d at 927. An individual stakeholder in a legal entity does not have a right to recover personally for harms done to the legal entity. Wingate v. Hajdik, 795 S.W.2d 717, 719 (Tex. 1990); Nauslar, 170 S.W.3d at 250, citing Cates v. Int'l Tel. & Tel. Corp., 756 F.2d 1161 (5th Cir. 1985) (a partner has no individual, separate cause of action for losses suffered by reason of tortious interference with a contract between the partnership and a third party: damages for loss in value of the partnership interest or employment losses are subsumed in the partnership's causes of action).

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