Raley v. Hyundai Motor Company, Ltd., No. 10-6080 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-Appellant Misty Raley brought suit against Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai) alleging that one of its cars was defectively designed and responsible for injuries she suffered in an accident. Before trial began, Ms. Raley filed a motion to substitute BancFirst in her place as "the real party in interest" and as sole plaintiff in this case. Ms. Raley explained that a state probate court had appointed BancFirst to serve as guardian for her and her minor children. In light of this, all "interest" in the lawsuit had been transferred to the bank, to the exclusion of her and her children. After a "lengthy" trial, Hyundai prevailed. In entering its judgment, the district court mistakenly identified Ms. Raley and not BancFirst as the losing party-plaintiff. To confuse matters further, Ms. Raley then appealed, listing herself as the plaintiff-appellant seeking to undo the judgment. For its part, BancFirst did not appeal. The court caught its error, and amended its judgment. In response, Ms. Raley filed another appeal, still listing herself as plaintiff-appellant. Again, BancFirst filed nothing. "It is this that pose[d] a problem." BancFirst joined Ms. Raley's appeal to the Tenth Circuit without having first filed a notice that it intended to appeal. Ultimately the issue on appeal to the Tenth Circuit was whether a final judgment rendered against someone else can be appealed, "especially when you aren't a named party to the lawsuit and voluntarily left the case long ago." The Court held that generally, and in this case, "the answer is no." There was no appeal from a named party in this case. "[T]he question naturally arises whether Ms. Raley might be allowed to proceed as a party to this appeal even though she was, by the time the district court rendered its rulings, no longer a named party to the district court proceedings. ... She makes no mention of this possibility" in her arguments before the Court. "Where an appellant fails to lead, we have no duty to follow." The Court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.