Standing to Sue


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Whereas capacity to sue goes to the right of a person to come into court, standing to sue goes to the issue of the right of a person who has capacity to sue to sue for relief on the cause of action alleged [see Parker v. Bowron (1953) 40 Cal. d 344, 351, 254 P.2d 6; American Alternative Energy Partners II v. Windridge, Inc. (1996) 42 Cal. App. 4th 551, 559, 49 Cal Rptr. 2d 686; Friendly Village Community Assn., Inc. v. Silva & Hill Constr. Co. (1973) 31 Cal. App. 3d 220, 224, 107 Cal. Rptr. 123] . Statute requires that, subject to statutory exceptions [see, e.g., Civ. Code § 1368.3], every action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest [Code Civ. Proc. § 367].

The real party in interest is one having an actual and substantial interest in the subject matter of the action and who would be benefited or injured by the judgment in the action [ County of Alameda v. State Bd. of Control (1993) 14 Cal. App. 4th 1096, 1103, 18 Cal. Rptr. 2d 487, quoting Friendly Village Community Assn., Inc. v. Silva & Hill Constr. Co. (1973) 31 Cal. App. 3d 220, 225, 107 Cal. Rptr. 123; see Redevelopment Agency v. Commission on State Mandates (1996) 43 Cal. App. 4th 1188, 1197, 51 Cal. Rptr. 2d 100 (real party in interest generally defined as any person or entity whose interest will be directly affected by proceeding; real party in interest may be entity in whose favor act complained of operates); Ventura County Ry. Co. v. Hadley Auto Transport (1995) 38 Cal. App. 4th 878, 880, 45 Cal. Rptr. 2d 362 (real party in interest is person possessing right sued on according to substantive law)]. If the cause of action alleged shows an invasion of plaintiff's legally protected interests under the substantive law, nothing further is required. But, if the cause of action exists in favor of some person other than the plaintiff, the plaintiff is not the real party in interest, and he or she, although having the legal capacity to sue, lacks standing to sue on the cause of action pleaded [Pillsbury v. Karmgard (1994) 22 Cal. App. 4th 743, 756, 27 Cal. Rptr. 2d 491; Torres v. City of Yorba Linda (1993) 13 Cal. App. 4th 1035, 1041, 1043, 17 Cal. Rptr. 2d 400; Friendly Village Community Assn., Inc. v. Silva & Hill Constr. Co. (1973) 31 Cal. App. 3d 220, 224, 107 Cal. Rptr. 123; see Schmier v. Supreme Court (2000) 78 Cal. App. 4th 703, 707-708, 93 Cal. Rptr. 2d 580 (lack of standing)].

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"This is . . . for the average man [and woman] and its purpose is to try to plant in his [and her] head, at the least, a seed of skepticism about the whole legal profession [service], its works and its ways.

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