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Christensen v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County

6/28/1990

ction Co. v. Utah (1974) 414 U.S. 538, 554-555 [38 L.Ed.2d 713, 727, 94 S.Ct. 756].)


Before Morse appeared as a named plaintiff, her claim against CC had been asserted by the class of which Morse is a party. ( Crown, Cork & Seal Co. v. Parker (1983) 462 U.S. 345, 354 [76 L.Ed.2d 628, 636, 103 S.Ct. 2392]; Daar v. Yellow Cab Co., supra, 67 Cal. 2d at p. 706; cf. Jolly v. Eli Lilly & Co. (1988) 44 Cal. 3d 1103, 1122 [245 Cal. Rptr. 658, 751 P.2d 923].) However, in deference to the trial court, we do not address CC's statute of limitations assertion in the first instance in a writ proceeding.


c. Plaintiffs' request for a determination each cause of action states a viable basis for the relief answered indirectly.


Plaintiffs seek to have this court address the sufficiency of the allegations of the PFAC before that question has been submitted to the trial court. To the extent this court has ruled on the standing of potential class members to sue, we necessarily have discussed potential causes of action. Beyond the foregoing exposition of our views, we decline to address this request.


CONCLUSION


Plaintiffs do not allege an individual representative plaintiff who has been aggrieved by the trial court's order. However, because the ruling in issue relates to standing to sue, we address the merits in the interest of judicial economy.


The parties concede that contracting parties and section 7100 right holders have standing to sue.


Based upon the allegations of outstanding human remains, we conclude the section 7100 right must devolve after the death of the decedents.


Because of the special relationship between a mortuary and the bereaved, a potential plaintiff need not allege presence at the scene of the mishandling in order to have standing to sue for negligent mishandling of remains. Thus, close family members, as defined in Thing and modified to include grandchildren, have standing to sue for negligent mishandling or remains.


Allegations of intentional mishandling of remains permit the plaintiffs to define a plaintiff class that includes all family members, including those who fall outside the Thing definition, and close friends of the deceased.


The Carolina subclass, consisting of section 7100 right holders and their successors, have standing to sue Carolina for negligence.


Accordingly, the trial court's ruling on standing must be reversed.


We decline to address certain issues raised by the parties in supplemental briefs as these issues have not been presented to the trial court in the first instance.


Disposition


The alternative writ heretofore issued is discharged. Let a peremptory writ of mandate issue directing respondent court to vacate its order on standing to sue, and to enter instead an order in accordance with the views expressed herein.


Danielson, J., and Croskey, J., concurred.


Disposition


Granted.






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