What Does Real Party in Interest Mean?

‘Real party in interest’ means that the plaintiff that is suing you has the legal right to do so. The person or company that is suing you has to sue in their own name.

A collection agency or junk debt buyer cannot just throw it out there and say: “Hey we own this debt now and we are suing you.”

That’s where I would say ‘prove it’. Show me a valid assignment! Show me that Providian Bank sold you all of their rights to this original account. Show me that you can collect that interest. Show me that you can collect attorney fees. In fact, show me the contract! But that’s a whole different subject.

So when a junk debt buyer is suing you, they are claiming that they own the debt and that the original creditor sold your account to them. People put down ‘failed to name the real party in interest’ for a motion to dismiss if their state requires the assignment to be attached to the complaint. Even if the assignment is attached, they would list ‘failed to name the real party in interest’ in their affirmative defenses. You never know if further down the lawsuit you may need this defense, especially if you learn the assignment is inaccurate.

That is where the assignment comes in. You would need to see the chain of assignment to be sure that they truly are the real party in interest. How do you know that this debt wasn’t sold 15 times over and only owner number 2 has the right to sue you? You don’t. That is why you need proof that they can legally collect and own the old credit card debt.

You need to see proof that, for example, Providian Bank sold their account to John Doe. John Doe would have to show you the assignment of rights, that they truly can legally sue you and that they own the account.

So that is when we might use ‘failed to name the real party in interest’ when dealing with junk debt buyer’s or collection agencies. The assignment means everything and so does that contract.

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