Alexander v. Tyson
A family member who has not been appointed to serve as estate executor or estate administrator may not possess standing to sue on behalf of the decedent family member's estate. In June 2006, the plaintiff's brother passed away, and the police or a medical examiner concluded that the plaintiff's brother committed suicide. The plaintiff sued the defendants, alleging that the defendants assaulted or murdered the plaintiff's brother. One of the defendants, who had been appointed as the administrator of the brother's estate, moved to dismiss. In Connecticut, "standing to bring a wrongful death action is . . . conferred only upon an executor or an administrator," pursuant to Isaac v. Mount Sinai Hospital, a 1989 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Connecticut General Statutes §52-555 "creates a cause of action for wrongful death that is maintainable on behalf of the estate only by an executor or administrator," pursuant to Ellis v. Cohen, a 2009 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The District Court found that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue the defendants for wrongful death, because the plaintiff was not designated or appointed as the executor or administrator of his brother's estate. The District Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the plaintiff's allegations, and the court granted the defendant estate administrator's motion to dismiss. The court also found it would constitute a "waste of judicial resources," to permit the plaintiff's claims against four additional defendants to proceed, and the court, sua sponte, dismissed the plaintiff's claims against the remaining defendants.