The following cases have been compiled here as an attempt to understand how differing states view the relationship between: (1) a plaintiff in a lawsuit lacking standing to bring the action, and (2) the court in which such a lawsuit is filed lacking subject matter jurisdiction to entertain the suit by reviewing the comments of the various courts in some relatively recent decisions. All cases are available free online at FindLaw.com and/or at LexisOne Free Case Law (each service may require free registration).
Unless otherwise noted, any bold text contained below is my own emphasis, not contained in the text of the case, which I add for ease in my future reference.
----------------------------------Alabama: Cadle Co. v. Shabani, 1070116, 2008 Ala. LEXIS 189 (2008):
- Standing is "'"[t]he requisite personal interest that must exist at the commencement of the litigation."'" Pharmacia Corp. v. Suggs, 932 So. 2d 95, 98 (Ala. 2005) (quoting In re Allison G., 276 Conn. 146, 156, 883 A. 2d 1226, 1231 (2005), quoting in turn H. Monaghan, Constitutional Adjudication: The Who and When, 82 Yale L.J. 1363, 1384 (1973)). "When a party without standing purports to commence an action, the trial court acquires no subject-matter jurisdiction." State v. Property at 2018 Rainbow Drive, 740 So. 2d 1025, 1028 (Ala. 1999). The jurisdictional defect resulting from the plaintiff's lack of standing cannot be cured by amending the complaint to add a party having standing. Id. ("[A] pleading purporting to amend a complaint, which complaint was filed by a party without standing, cannot relate back to the filing of the original complaint, because there is nothing 'back' to which to relate."). See also Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police v. Vann, 344 So. 2d 1212, 1214 (1977) ("We are unaware of any case where any court has reached a substantive issue absent a named plaintiff who has standing at the time the action was filed.")
- When the absence of subject-matter jurisdiction is noticed by, or pointed out to, the trial court, that court has no jurisdiction to entertain further motions or pleadings in the case. It can do nothing but dismiss the action forthwith. "'Any other action taken by a court lacking subject matter jurisdiction is null and void.'" Rainbow Drive, 740 So. 2d at 1029 (quoting Beach v. Director of Revenue, 934 S.W.2d 315, 318 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996)).
- "This court has long acknowledged that standing is that aspect of justiciability focusing on the party seeking a forum rather than on the issue he or she wants adjudicated." Sierra Club v. Hawai'i Tourism Auth., 100 Hawai'i 242, 271, 59 P.3d 877, 906 (2002) (brackets, citation, and internal quotation marks omitted); Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498, 95 S. Ct. 2197, 45 L. Ed. 2d 343 (1975) ("In essence the question of standing is whether the litigant is entitled to have the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues."). It is well-settled that courts must determine as a threshold matter whether they have jurisdiction to decide the issues presented. Pub. Access Shoreline Hawai'i v. Hawai'i County Planning Comm'n, 79 Hawai'i 425, 431, 903 P.2d 1246, 1252 (1995).
- If a party is found to lack standing, the court is without subject matter jurisdiction to determine the action. See Pele Defense Fund v. Puna Geothermal Venture, 77 Hawai'i 64, 67, 881 P.2d 1210, 1213 (1994). Thus, "[i]f a court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter of a proceeding, any judgment rendered in that proceeding is invalid." Bush v. Hawaiian Homes Comm'n, 76 Hawai'i 128, 133, 870 P.2d 1272, 1277 (1994).
- "In determining whether [the plaintiff] has standing, we look solely to whether [the plaintiff] is the proper plaintiff in this case, without regard to the merits of the allegations [in the complaint]." Hawai'i Thousand Friends v. Anderson, 70 Haw. 276, 281, 768 P.2d 1293, 1298 (1989). Further, although lack of standing is raised by the defendant, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that he or she has standing. Sierra Club, 100 Hawai'i at 250, 59 P.3d at 885.
- The judge may have been under the impression that the plaintiff's standing remained a live issue at the rule 60(b) stage, as reflected by his observation that the lack of standing was not a mere technical defect in the plaintiff's lawsuit, but rather an issue of subject matter jurisdiction. See Planning Bd. of Marshfield v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Pembroke, 427 Mass. 699, 703, 695 N.E.2d 650 (1998). However, standing is an issue of subject matter jurisdiction only in the sense that it is a criterion that must be met in order for the court to exercise jurisdiction, when the court otherwise is competent to decide the case. See Sarin v. Ochsner, 48 Mass. App. Ct. 421, 424, 721 N.E.2d 932 (2000). See also Nickerson v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Raynham, 53 Mass. App. Ct. 680, 681 n.2, 761 N.E.2d 544 (2002). Once a court has rendered judgment, and opportunities for appeal have been exhausted, a subsequent showing that the plaintiff did not, in fact, have standing does not mean that the judgment is void and must be vacated; the judgment is immune from postjudgment attack unless the court's exercise of jurisdiction constituted a "clear usurpation of power." Sarin v. Ochsner, supra at 424, quoting from Lubben v. Selective Serv. Sys., 453 F.2d 645, 649 (1st Cir. 1972).
- Here, the court undoubtedly was competent to decide the case. See G. L. c. 41, § 81BB (permitting appeals from planning board decisions concerning subdivision plans to be brought in Superior Court or Land Court). Furthermore, until the trust's right of redemption was foreclosed, the plaintiff was entitled to rely upon the trust's interest in the lot as a basis for standing. See Hanna v. Framingham, 60 Mass. App. Ct. 420, 425, 802 N.E.2d 1061 (2004). Thus, even assuming that the plaintiff had no alternative basis for standing, there was, at most, an error in the continued exercise of subject matter jurisdiction after September 22, 2003, when the right of redemption was foreclosed, but there was no "clear usurpation of power" by the court. See generally Harris v. Sannella, 400 Mass. 392, 395, 509 N.E.2d 916 (1987); O'Dea v. J.A.L., Inc., 30 Mass. App. Ct. 449, 455, 569 N.E.2d 841 (1991).
Mississippi: Kirk v. Pope, NO. 2005-CA-02164-SCT, 973 So. 2d 981; 2007 Miss. LEXIS 692 (Miss. 2007):
- A real-party-in-interest defense must be timely and may be waived if tardily asserted. Gogolin & Stelter v. Karn's Auto Imports, Inc., 886 F.2d 100, 102 (5th Cir. 1989); see also Rogers v. Samedan Oil Corp., 308 F.3d 477, 483-84 (5th Cir. 2002) (failure to raise the assertion that plaintiff was not the real party in interest until day before trial constituted waiver); United HealthCare Corp. v. American Trade Ins. Co., 88 F.3d 563, 569 (8th Cir. 1996) (assertion at pretrial conference constituted waiver); Hefley v. Jones, 687 F.2d 1383, 1388 (10th Cir. 1982) (assertion sixteen days before trial is untimely). Because the earliest Pope alluded to a possible real-party-in-interest defense was after jury selection and just prior to the start of the trial, we find that Pope waived any real-party-in-interest defense.
- While Pope waived any real-party-in-interest defense, standing is a "jurisdictional issue which may be raised by any party or the Court at any time." City of Madison v. Bryan, 763 So. 2d 162, 166 (Miss. 2000) (citing Williams v. Stevens, 390 So. 2d 1012, 1014 (Miss. 1980)).P23. To have standing, this Court has stated, "there must be a present, existent actionable title or interest which must be completed at the time the cause of action is filed." Id. at 165 (quoting Crawford Commercial Constructors, Inc. v. Marine Indus. Residential Insulation, Inc., 437 So. 2d 15, 16 (Miss. 1983)). Kirk had a valid cause of action for breach of contract when he first filed suit and therefore initially had standing to pursue the claim. However, once Kirk filed his bankruptcy petition, he could have standing only if there was a proper ratification by the bankruptcy trustee.
Missouri: Chipman v. Counts, 104 S.W.3d 441, 448 (Mo. App. 2003):
- Respondent is correct in stating that "standing is a jurisdictional matter antecedent to the right to relief." Farmer v. Kinder, 89 S.W. 3d 447, 451 (Mo. banc 2002) (citing State ex rel. Williams v. Marsh, 626 S.W.2d 223, 227 n.6 (Mo. banc 1982)). To determine a party's standing is to "ask whether the person seeking relief [has] a right to do so." Id. (citing State ex rel. Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit v. Jones, 823 S.W.2d 471, 475 (Mo. banc 1992)). If a court determines a party lacks standing, it "must dismiss the case because it does not have jurisdiction of the substantive issues presented." Id. (citing State ex rel. Ryan v. Carnahan, 960 S.W.2d 549, 550 (Mo.App. E.D. 1998); Rule 55.27(g)(3)).
Missouri: Farmer v. Kinder, 89 S.W. 3d 447 (Mo. banc 2002):
- Standing is a jurisdictional matter antecedent to the right to relief. State ex rel. Williams v. Marsh, 626 S.W.2d 223, 227, n.6 (Mo. banc 1982). It asks whether the persons seeking relief have a right to do so. State ex rel. Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit v. Jones, 823 S.W.2d 471, 475 (Mo. banc 1992). Where, as here, a question is raised about a party's standing, courts have a duty to determine the question of their jurisdiction before reaching substantive issues, for if a party lacks standing, the court must dismiss the case because it does not have jurisdiction of the substantive issues presented. State ex rel. Ryan v. Carnahan, 960 S.W.2d 549, 550 (Mo. App. 1998); Rule 55.27(g)(3). Lack of standing cannot be waived. Foreclosure for Delinquent Land Taxes by Action in REM, 947 S.W.2d 90, 93 (Mo. App. 1997).
Nebraska: Myers v. Neb. Inv. Council, No. S-05-532., 272 Neb. 669; 724 N.W.2d 776; 2006 Neb. LEXIS 170 (December 8, 2006):
- Standing is the legal or equitable right, title, or interest in the subject matter of the controversy, which entitles a party to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. Adam v. City of Hastings, 267 Neb. 641, 676 N.W.2d 710 (2004). Standing is fundamental to a court's exercise of jurisdiction, and either a litigant or a court before which a case is pending can raise the question of standing at any time during the proceeding. Smith v. City of Papillion, 270 Neb. 607, 705 N.W.2d 584 (2005). Standing is a jurisdictional component of a party's case because only a party who has standing may invoke the jurisdiction of a court. Chambers v. Lautenbaugh, 263 Neb. 920, 644 N.W.2d 540 (2002). As an aspect of jurisdiction and justiciability, standing requires that a litigant have a personal stake in the outcome of a controversy: a personal stake that would warrant invocation of a court's jurisdiction and justify the exercise of the court's remedial powers on the litigant's behalf. Id.
Nebraska: Adam v. City of Hastings, 267 Neb. 641, 676 N.W.2d 710 (2004):
- Standing is the legal or equitable right, title, or interest in the subject matter of the controversy which entitles a party to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. Crosby v. Luehrs, supra; Hradecky v. State, 264 Neb. 771, 652 N.W.2d 277 (2002). Standing relates to a court's power, that is, jurisdiction, to address the issues presented and serves to identify those disputes which are appropriately resolved through the judicial process. Governor's Policy Research Office v. KN Energy, 264 Neb. 924, 652 N.W.2d 865 (2002); Mutual Group U.S. v. Higgins, 259 Neb. 616, 611 N.W.2d 404 (2000). Standing is a jurisdictional component of a party's case because only a party who has standing may invoke the jurisdiction of a court. Governor's Policy Research Office v. KN Energy, supra; Miller v. City of Omaha, 260 Neb. 507, 618 N.W.2d 628 (2000).
- The purpose of an inquiry as to standing is to determine whether one has a legally protectable interest or right in the controversy that would benefit by the relief to be granted. Crosby v. Luehrs, supra; Hradecky v. State, supra. In order to have standing, a litigant must assert the litigant's own legal rights and interests and cannot rest his or her claim on the legal rights or interests of third parties. Id. The litigant must have some legal or equitable right, title, or interest in the subject of the controversy. See, Crosby v. Luehrs, supra; Chambers v. Lautenbaugh, 263 Neb. 920, 644 N.W.2d 540 (2002).
North Carolina: Tilley v. Diamond, NO. COA06-500, 2007 N.C. App. LEXIS 1591 (unpub.) (N.C. Ct. App., 2007):
- Jurisdiction is "[t]he legal power and authority of a court to make a decision that binds the parties to any matter properly brought before it." BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 856 (7th ed. 1999) (defining judicial jurisdiction). . . . "A universal principle as old as the law is that the proceedings of a court without jurisdiction of the subject matter are a nullity." Subject matter jurisdiction is the indispensable foundation upon which valid judicial decisions rest, and in its absence a court has no power to act: A judgment is void, when there is a want of jurisdiction by the court over the subject matter . . . . "A void judgment is in legal effect no judgment. No rights are acquired or divested by it. It neither binds nor bars any one, and all proceedings founded upon it are worthless." In re T.R.P., 360 N.C. 588, 590, 636 S.E.2d 787, 789-90 (2006) (quoting Burgess v. Gibbs, 262 N.C. 462, 465, 137 S.E.2d 806, 808 (1964)), and Hart v. Thomasville Motors, Inc., 244 N.C. 84, 90, 92 S.E.2d 673, 678 (1956)) (internal citation omitted).
- Standing has been defined as "whether a party has a sufficient stake in an otherwise justiciable controversy so as to properly seek adjudication of the matter." Neuse River Found., Inc. v. Smithfield Foods, Inc., 155 N.C. App. 110, 114, 574 S.E.2d 48, 51 (2002). "If a party does not have standing to bring a claim, a court has no subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim." Estate of Apple v. Commercial Courier Express, Inc., 168 N.C. App. 175, 177, 607 S.E.2d 14, 16, disc. review denied, 359 N.C. 632, 613 S.E.2d 688 (2005).
North Carolina: Estate of Apple v. Commercial Courier Express, Inc., 168 N.C. App. 175, 177, 607 S.E.2d 14 (N.C. Ct. App. 2005):
- If a party does not have standing to bring a claim, a court has no subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim. See Neuse River Found., Inc. v. Smithfield Foods, Inc., 155 N.C. App. 110, 113, 574 S.E.2d 48, 51 (2002).
Ohio: Black v. Aristech Chem. Co., Case No. 07CA3155, 2008 Ohio 7038; 2008 Ohio App. LEXIS 5890, Ohio Ct. App., 4th Dist., Scioto County, December 23, 2008):
- Subject-matter jurisdiction describes a court's "statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case." Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment (1998), 523 U.S. 83, 89, 118 S.Ct. 1003, 140 L.Ed.2d 210; see, also, Pratts, at P11. "Once a tribunal has jurisdiction over both the subject matter of an action and the parties to it, '* * * the right to hear and determine is perfect; and the decision of every question thereafter arising is but the exercise of the jurisdiction thus conferred * * *.'" State ex rel. Pizza v. Rayford (1992), 62 Ohio St.3d 382, 384, 582 N.E.2d 992, quoting Sheldon's Lessee v. Newton (1854), 3 Ohio St. 494, 499. "[A] judgment rendered by a court lacking subject matter jurisdiction is void ab initio." Patton v. Diemer (1988), 35 Ohio St.3d 68, 70, 518 N.E.2d 941; see, also, Pratts, at P12.
- In addition to subject-matter jurisdiction, a court must also have jurisdiction over a particular case. See Pratts, at P12. "'"[J]urisdiction over the particular case encompasses the trial court's authority to determine a specific case within that class of cases that is within its subject matter jurisdiction."'" Id., quoting State v. Parker, 95 Ohio St.3d 524, 2002 Ohio 2833, 769 N.E.2d 846, at P22 (Cook, J., dissenting), quoting State v. Swiger (1998), 125 Ohio App.3d 456, 462, 708 N.E.2d 1033. Unlike lack of subject-matter jurisdiction which renders a judgment void, "'lack of jurisdiction over the particular case merely renders the judgment voidable.'" Id., quoting Parker at P22 (Cook, J., dissenting), quoting Swiger, 125 Ohio App.3d at 462. Thus, "'"[w]here it is apparent from the allegations that the matter alleged is within the class of cases in which a particular court has been empowered to act, jurisdiction is present. Any subsequent error in the proceedings is only error in the 'exercise of jurisdiction,' as distinguished from the want of jurisdiction in the first instance."'" Pratts, at P22, quoting State v. Filiaggi (1999), 86 Ohio St.3d 230, 240, 1999 Ohio 99, 714 N.E.2d 867, quoting In re Waite (1991), 188 Mich.App. 189, 200, 468 N.W.2d 912. If a judgment is merely voidable, it may not be collaterally attacked. See Clark v. Wilson (July 28, 2000), Trumbull App. No. 2000-T-0063, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 3400 (stating that "if a judgment is deemed voidable, it will have the effect of a proper legal order unless its propriety is successfully challenged through a direct attack on the merits").
- "Jurisdiction has been described as 'a word of many, too many, meanings.'" Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d 81, 88, 2004 Ohio 1980, 806 N.E.2d 992, quoting United States v. Vanness (C.A .D.C.1996), 318 U.S. App. D.C. 95, 85 F.3d 661, 663, fn. 2. Because the term "jurisdiction" is used in various contexts and often is not properly clarified, misinterpretation and confusion has resulted. Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 88."
- 'Jurisdiction' means 'the courts' statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case.' "Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 83, quoting Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment (1998), 523 U.S. 83, 89, 118 S. Ct. 1003, 140 L. Ed. 2d 210 (emphasis omitted); Morrison v. Steiner (1972), 32 Ohio St.2d 86, 87, 290 N.E.2d 841, paragraph one of the syllabus; see, also, In re J.J., 111 Ohio St.3d 205, 207, 2006 Ohio 5484, 855 N.E.2d 851. The term "jurisdiction" "encompasses jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the person." Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 83, citing State v. Parker, 95 Ohio St.3d 524, 529, 2002 Ohio 2833, 769 N.E.2d 846. (Cook, J., dissenting).
- "Because subject-matter jurisdiction goes to the power of the court to adjudicate the merits of a case, it can never be waived and may be challenged at any time." Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 83, citing United States v. Cotton (2002), 535 U.S. 625, 630, 122 S. Ct. 1781, 152 L. Ed. 2d 860; State ex rel. Tubbs Jones v. Suster (1998), 84 Ohio St.3d 70, 75, 1998 Ohio 275, 701 N.E.2d 1002, reconsideration denied (1999), 84 Ohio St. 3d 1475, 704 N.E.2d 582. A distinction exists between a court that lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over a case and a court that improperly exercises subject-matter jurisdiction once conferred upon it. Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 83-84.
- Distinguishing between subject-matter jurisdiction and jurisdiction over a particular case is important "because ' " '[i]t is only where the trial court lacks subject matter jurisdiction that its judgment is void; lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the particular case merely renders the judgment voidable' " ' "In re J.J., 111 Ohio St.3d at 207, quoting Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 83, quoting State v. Parker, 95 Ohio St.3d at 529 (Cook, J., dissenting), quoting State v. Swiger (1998), 125 Ohio App.3d 456, 462, 708 N.E.2d 1033. "Jurisdiction over the particular case," as the term implies, involves " ' "the trial court's authority to determine a specific case within that class of cases that is within its subject matter jurisdiction." ' " Pratts, 102 Ohio St.3d at 83 quoting Swiger, 125 Ohio App.3d at 462.
- A void judgment is one rendered by a court lacking subject-matter jurisdiction or the authority to act. Pratts v. Hurley, 102 Ohio St.3d at 84; State v. Beasley (1984), 14 Ohio St.3d 74, 75, 14 Ohio B. 511, 471 N.E.2d 774. A voidable judgment, on the other hand, is a judgment rendered by a court having jurisdiction/authority and, although seemingly valid, is irregular and erroneous. State v. Montgomery, Huron App. No. H-02-039, 2003 Ohio 4095.
- A voidable judgment is one rendered by a court having jurisdiction and although seemingly valid, is irregular and erroneous. Black's Law Dictionary (7 Ed.1999) 848. A voidable judgment is subject to direct appeal, R.C. 2505.03(A), Article IV, Section 3(B)(2), Ohio Constitution, and to the provisions of Civ.R. 60(B). A Civ.R. 60(B) application for relief must be made to the trial court that rendered the judgment from which relief is sought.
- As the Eleventh District Court of Appeals noted in Clark v. Wilson (July 28, 2000), Trumbull App. No. 2000-T-0063, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 3400: "The distinction between 'void' and 'voidable' is crucial. If a judgment is deemed void, it is considered a legal nullity which can be attacked collaterally. Conversely, if a judgment is deemed voidable, it will have the effect of a proper legal order unless its propriety is successfully challenged through a direct attack on the merits. * * * " "Where it is apparent from the allegations that the matter alleged is within the class of cases in which a particular court has been empowered to act, jurisdiction is present. Any subsequent error in the proceedings is only error in the 'exercise of jurisdiction' as distinguished from the want of jurisdiction in the first instance." State v Filiaggi (1999), 86 Ohio St.3d 230, 240, 1999 Ohio 99, 714 N.E.2d 867, quoting In re Waite (1991), 188 Mich. App. 189, 200, 468 N.W.2d 912.
Ohio: Wash. Mut. Bank v. Novak, No. 88121 , 2007 Ohio 996; 2007 Ohio App. LEXIS 990 (Ohio Ct. App, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga County 2007):
- Civ.R. 17(A) provides in part that "every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. * * * No action shall be dismissed on the ground that it is not prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest until a reasonable time has been allowed after objection for ratification of commencement of the action by, or joinder or substitution of, the real party in interest. Such ratification, joinder, or substitution shall have the same effect as if the action had been commenced in the name of the real party in interest. "A "real party in interest" is "one who has a real interest in the subject matter of the litigation, and not merely an interest in the action itself, i.e., one who is directly benefitted or injured by the outcome of the case." Shealy v. Campbell (1985), 20 Ohio St.3d 23, 24-25, 20 Ohio B. 210, 485 N.E.2d 701.
- If a claim is asserted by one who is not the real party in interest, then the party lacks standing to prosecute the action, but the court is not deprived of subject matter jurisdiction. See State ex rel. Tubbs Jones v. Suster (1998), 84 Ohio St. 3d 70, 1998 Ohio 275, 701 N.E.2d 1002, citing State ex rel. Smith v. Smith (1996), 75 Ohio St.3d 418, 420, 1996 Ohio 215, 662 N.E.2d 366, 369; State ex rel. LTV Steel Co. v. Gwin (1992), 64 Ohio St.3d 245, 251, 1992 Ohio 20, 594 N.E.2d 616, 621.
- Because compliance with Civ.R. 17 is not necessary to invoke the jurisdiction of the court of common pleas, State ex rel. Tubbs Jones v. Suster; First Union Natl. Bank v. Hufford (2001), 146 Ohio App.3d 673, 2001 Ohio 2271, 767 N.E.2d 1206, the failure to name the real party in interest is an objection or defense to a claim which is waived if not timely asserted. Id. See, also, MacLellan v. Motorist Ins. Co. (Nov. 8, 1993), Cuyahoga App. No. 64090, 1993 Ohio App. LEXIS 5557; Mikolay v. Transcon Builders, Inc. (Jan. 22, 1981), Cuyahoga App. No. 42047, 1981 Ohio App. LEXIS 11690.
- Applying the foregoing to this matter, we initially note that defendant offered no evidence to demonstrate that he was entitled to relief from judgment under the grounds set forth in Civ.R. 60(B)(1)-(5), as he simply claimed that Washington Mutual was not the real party in interest. Further, defendant did not raise this contention until five years after the complaint was filed. Accordingly, the objection that Washington Mutual was not the real party in interest was not timely raised as a matter of law and was waived. First Union Natl. Bank v. Hufford, supra. We therefore do not accept defendant's claim that the default was "void" such that he is entitled to relief from judgment under Civ.R. 60(B).
Oregon: Lincoln Loan Co. v. City of Portland, SC S51666 , 340 Ore. 613; 136 P.3d 1; 2006 Ore. LEXIS 469, (Or. 2006):
The court cites Clawson et ux v. Prouty et ux, 215 Ore. 244, 249, 333 P.2d 1104 (1959) for the proposition that:
- "Every court confronted with a law suit of any kind is under both the necessity and the duty of determining whether or not it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit, and it necessarily has jurisdiction to make this determination." (internal quotations and citations omitted.
Texas: In the Interest of CMC, 192 SW3d 866, 869 (Tex App., 2006):
- Standing, as a necessary component of a court's subject-matter jurisdiction, is a constitutional prerequisite to maintaining a suit under Texas law. Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 444, 36 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 607 (Tex. 1993). If a party lacks standing, a court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a case. Id.
- [A] decision concerning whether a party has standing is not a decision deciding the merits of a case. See Blue, 34 S.W.3d at 554. "A plea to the jurisdiction is a dilatory plea, the purpose of which is to defeat a cause of action without regard to whether the claims asserted have merit." Id. Without subject-matter jurisdiction, the trial court must dismiss the case. Am. Motorists Ins. Co. v. Fodge, 63 S.W.3d 801, 805, 45 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 122 (Tex. 2001). Dismissal is the appropriate disposition when a party lacks standing; it is not a decision on the merits of the case.
Texas: Whitworth v. Whitworth, NO. 01-04-01026-CV , 222 S.W.3d 616; 2007 Tex. App. LEXIS 2238, Tex, Ct. App., 1st Dist., Houston, March 16, 2007):
- Standing is implicit in the concept of subject matter jurisdiction. Waco Indep. Sch. Dist., 22 S.W.3d at 853; Doncer v. Dickerson, 81 S.W.3d 349, 353 (Tex. App.--El Paso 2002, no pet.). Subject matter jurisdiction is essential to the authority of a court to decide a case. Texas Ass'n of Bus., 852 S.W.2d at 443. Standing, as a necessary component of a court's subject matter jurisdiction, is a constitutional prerequisite to maintaining suit. Id. at 444; In re C.M.C. & J.T.C., 192 S.W.3d 866, 869 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2006) (orig. proceeding). The standing requirement under Texas law stems from two limitations on subject matter jurisdiction: the separation of powers doctrine and the open courts provision, "which contemplates access to the courts only for those litigants suffering an injury." Texas Ass'n of Bus., 852 S.W.2d at 443-44; see also Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560, 112 S. Ct. 2130, 2136, 119 L. Ed. 2d 351 (1992) (standing in federal law is essential and unchangeable requirement of case-or-controversy requirement of Article III of Constitution). Standing in Texas state court requires (a) "a real controversy between the parties" that (b) "will be actually determined by the declaration sought." Texas Ass'n of Bus., 852 S.W.2d at 446. Subject matter jurisdiction is never presumed and cannot be waived. Id. at 443-44. If a party lacks standing, a court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case. Id. at 444; In re C.M.C., 192 S.W.3d at 869.
Vermont: Bischoff v. Bletz, No. 07-001, 2008 VT 16; 949 A.2d 420; 2008 Vt. LEXIS 9 (Vt. 2008):
- Vermont courts have “subject matter jurisdiction only over actual cases or controversies involving litigants with adverse interests.” Brod v. Agency of Natural Res., 2007 VT 87, ¶ 8, 182 Vt. 234, 936 A.2d 1286. One element of the “case or controversy requirement is that plaintiffs must have standing, that is, they must have suffered a particular injury that is attributable to the defendant and that can be redressed by a court of law.” Parker v. Town of Milton, 169 Vt. 74, 77, 726 A.2d 477, 480 (1998). Without standing, the court has no jurisdiction over a petition for declaratory relief. See Brod, 2007 VT 87, ¶ 2 (plaintiff “must demonstrate standing for a court to have jurisdiction over a petition for declaratory relief” (quotation omitted)); Ladd v. Valerio, 2005 VT 81, ¶ 3, 178 Vt. 614, 883 A.2d 764 (mem.) (“Every petition for declaratory relief must be rooted in an actual controversy between the parties; otherwise, the plaintiff lacks standing to sue, and the courts have no jurisdiction to grant the relief sought.”); Parker, 169 Vt. at 77, 726 A.2d at 480 (explaining that standing is jurisdictional requirement in declaratory-judgment actions because declaratory judgments “can only provide a declaration of rights, status, and other legal relations of parties to an actual or justiciable controversy” (quotation omitted)).
- Because standing is a necessary component of the court's subject-matter jurisdiction, it cannot be waived, and its absence can be raised at any time. See Brod, 2007 VT 87, ¶ 2 (equating Court's review of dismissal for lack of standing in declaratory-judgment action with dismissal for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction); Town of Charlotte v. Richmond, 158 Vt. 354, 357-58, 609 A.2d 638, 640 (1992) (subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and can be raised at any time); Harris v. Evans, 20 F.3d 1118, 1121 n.4 (11th Cir. 1994) (noting that standing cannot be waived and may be asserted at any stage of litigation); Palmer v. Bahm, 2006 MT 29, ¶ 16, 331 Mont. 105, 128 P.3d 1031 (stating that standing is “threshold requirement of every case” and may be raised at any time); see also Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 517-18, 95 S. Ct. 2197, 45 L. Ed. 2d 343 (1975) (“The rules of standing … are threshold determinants of the propriety of judicial intervention.”).
Virginia: Porter v. Commonwealth, Record Nos. 071928 & 071929, 276 Va. 203; 661 S.E.2d 415; 2008 Va. LEXIS 78 (Va. 2008):
- Jurisdiction is a term which can engender much confusion because it encompasses a variety of separate and distinct legal concepts. We addressed this topic and differentiated the categories of jurisdiction in Morrison v. Bestler, 239 Va. 166, 387 S.E.2d 753, 6 Va. Law Rep. 1125 (1990). A court may lack the requisite "jurisdiction" to proceed to an adjudication on the merits for a variety of reasons. The term jurisdiction embraces several concepts including subject matter jurisdiction, which is the authority granted through constitution or statute to adjudicate a class of cases or controversies; territorial jurisdiction, that is, authority over persons, things, or occurrences located in a defined geographic area; notice jurisdiction, or effective notice to a party or if the proceeding is in rem seizure of a res; and "the other conditions of fact must exist which are demanded by the unwritten or statute law as the prerequisites of the authority of the court to proceed to judgment or decree." Farant Inv. Corp. v. Francis, 138 Va. 417, 427-28, 122 S.E. 141, 144 (1924).
- While these elements are necessary to enable a court to proceed to a valid judgment, there is a significant difference between subject matter jurisdiction and the other "jurisdictional" elements. Subject matter jurisdiction alone cannot be waived or conferred on the court by agreement of the parties. Lucas v. Biller, 204 Va. 309, 313, 130 S.E.2d 582, 585 (1963). A defect in subject matter jurisdiction cannot be cured by reissuance of process, passage of time, or pleading amendment. While a court always has jurisdiction to determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction, a judgment on the merits made without subject matter jurisdiction is null and void. Barnes v. American Fert. Co., 144 Va. 692, 705, 130 S.E. 902, 906 (1925). Likewise, any subsequent proceeding based on such a defective judgment is void or a nullity. Ferry Co. v. Commonwealth, 196 Va. 428, 432, 83 S.E.2d 782, 784 (1954). Even more significant, the lack of subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time in the proceedings, even for the first time on appeal by the court sua sponte. Thacker v. Hubard, 122 Va. 379, 386, 94 S.E. 929, 930 (1918).
- In contrast, defects in the other jurisdictional elements generally will be considered waived unless raised in the pleadings filed with the trial court and properly preserved on appeal. Rule 5:25.
- One consequence of the non-waivable nature of the requirement of subject matter jurisdiction is that attempts are sometimes made to mischaracterize other serious procedural errors as defects in subject matter jurisdiction to gain an opportunity for review of matters not otherwise preserved. See Restatement (Second) of Judgments, § 11 (1980).Id. at 169-70, 387 S.E.2d at 755-56.
- Our recitation in Morrison reflects the long-standing distinction between subject matter jurisdiction, which cannot be granted or waived by the parties and the lack of which renders an act of the court void, and territorial jurisdiction or venue. The latter goes to the authority of the court to act in particular circumstances or places and is waived if not properly and timely raised. The judgment of a court which is defective in territorial jurisdiction or venue is thus only voidable and not void. Id.; Southern Sand and Gravel Company, Inc. v. Massaponax Sand and Gravel Corporation, 145 Va. 317, 326, 133 S.E. 812, 814 (1926). sub-mat-jurisd-alpha