Austin Nursing Ctr., Inc. v. Lovato

In Austin Nursing Ctr., Inc. v. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d 845 (Tex. 2005), the plaintiff's mother died intestate after suffering from pressure ulcers she developed while a resident at Austin Nursing Center. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d at 846-47. Lovato filed suit on behalf of her mother's estate, purportedly as its personal representative, but at the time suit was initially filed Lovato had not filed an application for independent administration of the estate. Id. at 847. After limitations ran, the probate court appointed Lovato independent administrator of the estate, and Lovato amended the petition in her survival action. Id. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Austin Nursing Center based on limitations because a person with standing did not timely assert the survival action. Id. The court of appeals reversed, reasoning that Lovato's post-limitations amended petition related back to the time of the original filing and cured her "defective standing." Id. The Texas Supreme Court wrote at length to clarify the difference between standing and capacity. Id. at 848-54. In a footnote, the Court distinguished its own precedents and other opinions from the courts of appeals that confused standing with capacity, id. at 851 n.3, concluding that "in a survival action, the decedent's estate has a justiciable interest in the controversy sufficient to confer standing." Id. at 850.