Standing is a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit in federal court.[i]
Generally a party is not entitled to assert the rights of third persons except when a statute mandates so. Further, law permits such third-party standing when enforcement of a restriction against the litigant prevents a third party from entering into a relationship with the litigant (a contractual relationship), to which relationship the third party has a legal entitlement (a constitutional right).[ii]
Class actions are permissible against adverse administrative agency action and courts do not require all the unnamed class members to exhaust their administrative remedies so long as the named class plaintiff exhausts the remedies.[iii] Also, the parties have to exhaust alternate remedies prior to resorting to class action.
A tax payer has standing to challenge the administrative agency for tax expenditure if it violates an express constitutional provision.
The tax payer has to prove two aspects. Firstly, the tax payer should show that the challenged agency action is based on the government’s taxing and spending power. Secondly, the tax payer must show that the action contravenes a specific constitutional limitation on the exercise of that power.
An association has a right to representational standing. For this, the association must demonstrate that its members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right, the interests it seeks to protect are pertinent to the organization’s purpose and finally, neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit. [iv]
Moreover, the injury in question must be certain to meet the injury-in-fact requirement and must be of a kind that is likely to be redressed by a favorable court decision.
A state also has standing to challenge the actions of a government official where the state has a direct financial stake in the actions. Further, the state must demonstrate a “fairly traceable” causal connection between the injury it claims and the conduct it challenges. A state also has standing to challenge the validity of a federal agency regulation that conflicts with state law.[v] Similarly, Municipalities also have standing to sue under the Administrative Procedure Act.
[i] Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464 (1982)
[ii] Secretary of State of Maryland v. Joseph H. Munson Co., 467 U.S. 947, 954-958 (1984)
[iii] Thomas v. Reno, 943 F. Supp. 41 (D.D.C. 1996).
[iv] Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm’n, 432 U.S. 333 (U.S. 1977)
[v] State of Fla. v. Weinberger, 492 F.2d 488 (5th Cir. 1974)