The issue of standing regularly arises in fiduciary litigation. Generally, to establish standing to sue, a plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact, the injury must be traceable to the conduct complained of, and it must be likely that the injury will be redressed by a decision in the plaintiff’s favor.
Lack of standing can be a good defense in fiduciary litigation cases because many estate planning documents are ambulatory and can be changed at any time. How can a person have suffered harm – an injury in fact – if they could have been written out of a will, taken off an account, or removed as the beneficiary of an insurance policy at any time?
The issue of standing in a fiduciary litigation context was recently before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Hill v. Clark (2012 WL 1903265). Let’s take a quick look at the background. (more…)