Inability to Personally Recover in Wrongful Death Suit Does Not Remove Heir-at-Law’s Standing to Bring Suit on Behalf of All Beneficiaries

A nursing home resident died and the resident’s niece sued the nursing home for wrongful death. The nursing home filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the niece lacked standing. The trial court denied the motion. The resident’s sister-in-law moved to substitute as the real party in interest. The trial court granted the substitution. The nursing home filed an interlocutory appeal.


The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that the niece, as the heir-at-law, had standing. The niece was the heir-at-law because no other statutory heirs with higher priority than the niece survived the resident. Under Mississippi law, a decedent’s heir is quailed as an interested party, who may file a wrongful death action on behalf of all beneficiaries, regardless of her individual ability to recover because she had not suffered a remediable injury by the wrongful deprivation of the decedent’s life at the defendants’ hands.


See: Jaquith Nursing Home v. Yarbrough, 2012 WL 5259188 (Miss., October 25, 2012) (not designated for publication).