Trefren Construction Co. v. V&R Construction, LLCAnnotate this Case
Prior to his death, Timothy Trefren owned Trefren Construction and operated it as a sole proprietorship. Trefren Construction filed a complaint against V&R Construction, LLC and Cocca Development, Ltd. (collectively, Defendants) for breach of contract. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that all corporations associated with the name Trefren Construction were inactive or had been dissolved. Thereafter, Trefren filed a motion for substitution of party seeking to substitute the Estate of Timothy Trefren in the stead of Trefren. The district court denied the motion for substitution of party and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the named plaintiff was not the real party in interest. The court then made an additional ruling that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the parties’ contracts were voidable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the real party in interest requirement is not jurisdictional, and therefore, dismissal of Trefren Construction’s complaint was not mandated; (2) the district court abused its discretion when it denied Trefren Construction’s motion to substitute the Estate as the real party in interest; and (3) the district court’s summary judgment ruling was procedurally infirm and unsupported by a showing of undisputed facts.