Standing, for one who cannot stand.

help standA clear disability — a child rendered incompetent by a debilitating medical condition — gave rise to complicated standing and capacity issues in Rideau v. Keller ISD, No. 15-10095 (April 5, 2016).  The child, the beneficiary of a trust established in his behalf as a result of the incident that caused his condition, sought damages from his school district for mistreatment by his special education teacher.  The Fifth Circuit found that the child had standing to seek recovery for his home care expenses, notwithstanding “[t]he existence of a third-party payor in the form of a trust created by a prior tortfeasor.”  The Court then agreed with the defendant that Texas law gave the bank who administered the child’s trust the exclusive right to file suit for other damages, and not his parents.  It concluded, however, that this problem had been cured by the bank’s ratification of the parents’ action under the rarely-applied but very practical Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(a)(3).  (I congratulate my LPCH colleague John Guild on his work for the plaintiffs in this case.)

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