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How to Establish Standing to Sue in a Florida Business Dispute

The first question a court must resolve in any business litigation is whether the plaintiff has standing to sue. In most cases, this means the individual or organization bringing the lawsuit has a direct, personal stake in the outcome. The three general requirements to establish legal standing are injury in fact, causation and the availability of redress.

The injury-in-fact element of standing requires that the plaintiff have suffered or likely will suffer material harm due to the defendant’s action or failure to act. The claim cannot be based on the legal rights or interests of third parties, even if they might derive a benefit from the case. In addition, the actual or imminent harm must be articulable and concrete. A nebulous or speculative loss or prejudice is not sufficient.

The second element — causation — means there is a direct link between the defendant and the harm to the plaintiff that is alleged. In other words, the harm would not have occurred but for the defendant’s conduct. Proving causation can be complex, since there may be contributing or intervening causes for some or all of the plaintiff’s losses.

The third element — redress — requires that there be a specific legal remedy available for the actual or imminent harm alleged. Courts do not issue moral or aspirational judgments. The court must have the authority to issue a ruling that could cure the harm or loss. This can be an order for the payment of money or an order prohibiting or requiring action by the defendant. The plaintiff must have specific redress available for every claim.

In a Florida business dispute, the plaintiff must establish valid standing from the outset of the case. In addition, the real parties in interest must appear in the case for standing to be upheld. For example, suppose a Florida corporation claims a breach of contract by a foreign company. The corporation’s shareholders would not have standing to sue as individuals even if they are ultimately harmed. The suit must be brought directly by the corporation through its officers or directors. However, the shareholders can sue the corporation for mismanagement that allegedly caused losses in share value.

H. Clay Parker, Esq. in Orlando is one of central Florida’s most experienced business litigation law firms. If you have a commercial dispute, feel free to contact us online or call {PHONE} for a consultation.

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