Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Smith v. Stout

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

March 13, 2019

ADRIAN KEITH SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
TOM STOUT, Defendant,

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on its own motion. On January 10, 2019, the Court ordered movant Becky Peters to demonstrate that she was the real party in interest in this action and to file an amended complaint within sixty (60) days. Movant has failed to respond. Accordingly, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice.

         Background

         Adrian Keith Smith was a pretrial detainee being held at the Reynolds County Jail, in Centerville, Missouri. (Docket No. 1 at 2). At some point during his incarceration, he filled out a Court-provided 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint form, suing Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Stout in his official capacity. The complaint was signed on November 7, 2018. (Docket No. 1 at 10). Before Mr. Smith could file his complaint, he passed away on November 19, 2018. (Docket No. 3).

         Movant posthumously filed Mr. Smith's complaint with the Court on December 13, 2018. The complaint was accompanied by a letter from movant in which she asserted that Mr. Smith intended to file the complaint in federal court. However, he had not gotten around to doing so before he passed away. Movant stated that she eventually received the paperwork from the Reynolds County Jail, where Mr. Smith had been incarcerated. In her letter, movant asked whether or not the case could go forward in light of Mr. Smith's death. The Court construed the letter as a motion to be plaintiffs representative.

         On January 10, 2019, the Court ordered movant to demonstrate that she was the real party in interest in this action and to file an amended complaint. (Docket No. 5). She was given sixty (60) days in which to reply. The Court has not received a response.

         Discussion

         The complaint in the instant case was completed by Mr. Smith, who died before he was able to file it with the Court. As such, Fed.R.Civ.P. 25, relating to the substitution of parties, is inapplicable.

         Rather, the issue as to whether movant can bring a claim on Mr. Smith's behalf is governed by Rule 17(a), which provides that an "action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest." Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(a)(1). "The real party in interest is a party who, under governing substantive law, possesses the rights to be enforced." Consul Gen. of Republic of Indonesia v. Bill's Rentals, Inc., 330 F.3d 1041, 1045 (8th Cir. 2003). See also Cascades Dev. of Minnesota, LLC v. Nat'l Specialty Ins., 675 F.3d 1095, 1098 (8th Cir. 2012). The purpose of Rule 17(a) "is simply to protect the defendant against a subsequent action by the party actually entitled to recover, and to insure generally that the judgment will have its proper effect as res judicata." Curtis Lumber Co., Inc. v. Louisiana Pac. Corp., 618 F.3d 762, 771 (8th Cir. 2010). As such, the party bringing an action must actually possess, under the substantive law, the right sought to be enforced. United HealthCare Corp. v. American Trade Ins. Co., Ltd., 88 F.3d 563, 569 (8th Cir. 1996).

         Rule 17 provides that the following persons may sue in their own names without joining the person for whose benefit the action is brought:

(A) an executor;
(B) an administrator;
(C) a guardian:
(D) a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.