CALIFORNIA STANDING IN WRONGFUL DEATH ACTION LIMITED TO CHILDREN WHO HAVE A RIGHT TO INHERIT UNDER CALIFORNIA INTESTATE SUCCESSION.


New Case: Stennett v. Miller (2019) “California’s wrongful death statute establishes that standing to sue for wrongful death turns on whether the plaintiff has a right to inherit from the decedent under California’s intestate succession statutes. In this particular case, the child has no right to inherit from the decedent because he never openly held her out as his own and because she never obtained a court order declaring paternity during his lifetime. It follows that she does not have standing to sue for his wrongful death. Notably, a contrary conclusion would deprive the decedent’s parents and siblings of standing to sue for his wrongful death. We cannot imagine the Legislature intended to confer wrongful death standing on a child who had no relationship whatsoever with the decedent to the exclusion of the decedent’s other family members with whom he did have a relationship.”

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