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injured party

Third party standing

Third party standing is a term of the law of civil procedure that describes when one party may file a lawsuit on behalf of another party. In the United States, this is generally prohibited, as a party can only assert his or her own rights and cannot raise the claims of a third party who is not before the court. However, there are several exceptions to this doctrine.

For example, a third party may sue where he has interchangeable economic interests with the injured party, as in the case of a bookseller suing to enforce the rights of his patrons to purchase a particular book from his store.

A party that represents a class in a class action suit may continue to represent the class even where their own stake in the suit has dissipated. A woman seeking to challenge the constitutionality of a law that prevents divorcees from remarrying within a year may continue to represent the class of similarly situated persons, even if the year passes and she is able to remarry before the case has been decided.

Organizational Standing

Many organizations, such as trade unions, can also assert third party standing to represent their members. An association has standing to bring suit on behalf of its members when its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right, the interests it seeks to protect are germane to their organization's purpose and neither the claim asserted, nor the relief requested, requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit.

There are exceptions to the Third Party Standing rule, such as overbreadth and vagueness, in constitutional law that are being in dispute. Refer to the following: "... overbreadth is an exception to the usual rules of standing. Ordinarily, challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of third parties and can only assert their own interests. See generally Note, "Standing to Assert Constitutional Jus Tertii," 88 Harv.L.Rev. 423 (1974). In overbreadth analysis, challengers are in effect permitted to raise the rights of third parties. But see Monaghan, "Overbreadth," 1981 Sup. Ct. Rev. 1 (arguing that overbreadth involves first-party, not third-party standing, because the litigant's own conduct may only be regulated by a valid rule of law); Monaghan, "Third Party Standing," 84 Colum. L. Rev. 277 (1984)." p. 1335, Constitutional Law, 15th Edition, Thomson West, 2004, NY, NY, by K. M. Sullivan, G. Gunther, Foundation Press Discussion on vagueness can be found on p. 1349, supra.

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