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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On behalf of her deceased mother, Pauline Wilson Lovato filed a survival action against Guadalupe Zamora, M.D., Austin Nursing Center Inc., and related entities and individuals. In her original petition, filed within the statute of limitations, Lovato asserted that she was the personal representative of her mother’s estate. In actuality, Lovato was not appointed independent administrator until after the statute of limitations on the survival action expired. Austin Nursing Center moved for summary judgment, arguing that Lovato lacked standing to bring the survival action at the time the case was filed, and the trial court granted the motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Lovato’s later-acquired status as the estate’s personal representative gave her standing, which related back to the time of the lawsuit’s original filing. HOLDING:Affirmed. In a survival action, the decedent’s estate has a justiciable interest in the controversy sufficient to confer standing. When a decedent has been personally aggrieved by a defendant’s conduct, the survival action advances a real controversy between the estate and the defendant that will be actually determined by the judicial declaration sought. Therefore, because the pleadings in this case alleged that the defendants’ negligent conduct injured Wilson, her estate had standing to pursue a claim. The parties dispute whether, under this court’s holding in Shepherd v. Ledford, 962 S.W.2d 28, 31-32 (Tex. 1998), Lovato was qualified to bring suit as an heir at the time she filed the survival action. The court does not decide whether Lovato proved heirship, however, because in any event, Lovato acquired the capacity to sue as the estate’s personal representative when she was appointed administrator on May 9, 2002. The court considers whether Lovato’s claims are barred because she did not cure the defect in her representative capacity until after the statute of limitations had expired. Because a plaintiff’s amended pleading alleging representative capacity satisfies the relation-back requirements, an original petition that alleges the correct capacity should suffice for limitations purposes, provided that capacity, if challenged, is established within a reasonable time. The trial court, by granting summary judgment, necessarily concluded that, despite her pleading to the contrary, Lovato was not the estate’s personal representative at the time she filed the original petition. The court cannot ascertain from this record the basis for their pleading that Lovato was, in fact, “Personal Representative” of Wilson’s estate when “no administrator has been appointed.” The parties, or the trial court, are in a better position to determine whether the pleading was filed after reasonable inquiry, the court states. It would be pointless to require that the plaintiff file an “amended” pleading containing the same allegations of capacity as were stated in her original petition. The estate commenced the suit before limitations expired; Lovato cured the defect in her capacity before the case was dismissed. Under those circumstances, the estate had standing and was ultimately represented by a person with capacity to pursue the claim on its behalf. Because Lovato’s original petition asserting her representative capacity was filed before the statute of limitations expired, the survival claim is not time-barred. OPINION:Jefferson, C.J., delivered the court’s opinion. Johnson, J., did not participate in the decision.

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