Missouri Civil Procedure Rule 52.01 requires that “every civil action shall be prosecuted by the real party in interest.” But who or what is a “real party in interest”? The real party in interest is a party having a “justiciable interest susceptible of protection through litigation.” Perkinson v. v. Burford, 623 S.W.2d 30, 34 (Mo. App. E.D. 1981). Stated differently, “real parties in interest are persons who are directly interested in a lawsuit’s subject matter and are entitled to maintain the action.” Welch v. Davis, 114 S.W.3d 285, 292 (Mo. App. W.D. 2003).
The determination of whether a person is a real party in interest is a legal conclusion subject to de novo review on appeal. Herky LLC v. Holman, 277 S.W.3d 702, 704 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008). In making this determination, the Court looks at the facts in the record, giving special attention by who stands to benefit by the litigation. Herky, LLC v. Holman, 277 S.W.3d 702, 704-05 (Mo. App. E.D. 2008).