CA6: Third-party standing in § 1983 fails

Plaintiff is the employer of people detained at a job site. Because their individual claims were small, the company sued for them. The third party standing claim under § 1983 fails, and the employer also admitted that the employees likely were better off financially because they were paid for their time of work. Rover Pipeline LLC v. Zwick, No. 22-3370, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 33144 (6th Cir. Nov. 30, 2022):

Rover points us to no case where a party was allowed to assert a third-party claim on the sole basis of financial disincentive of the third party to bring suit. Although Powers did mention lack of financial incentive as a reason why improperly excluded jurors are hindered in bringing suit, it was merely one in a long list of factors that together culminated in the conclusion that excluded jurors faced so many barriers that third-party suits were appropriate. See id.; see also Smith, 641 F.3d at 209 (indicating that Powers concerned “systemic practical challenges to filing suit”).6 But financial disincentive alone appears far less of a hindrance than other hindrances found insufficient to justify third-party standing. See, e.g., Kowalski, 543 U.S. at 132-33 (indigent litigants needing to proceed pro se face an insufficient obstacle). Many claims do not involve great financial compensation in comparison to the costs of litigation, but litigants bring them anyway—ostensibly to vindicate their rights. To allow mere financial disincentive—especially where, as here, there is no indication that bringing suit would be inordinately difficult or expensive—to justify third-party standing would open the floodgates where the Supreme Court has been careful to limit access. See Crawford v. United States Dep’t of the Treasury, 868 F.3d 438, 455 (6th Cir. 2017) (noting that the third-party standing exception is “rare”).

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