SEARS, Chief Justice.
Joyce Blackmon filed a complaint in Fulton County State Court for medical malpractice and wrongful death against Tenet Healthsystem Spalding, Inc. and others (collectively, "Tenet"). Blackmon had been named the legal guardian of her grandchild, Cecily Brooke Futral, because her son-in-law was incarcerated. Blackmon filed suit in her representative capacity as the legal guardian of the child, and the state court denied Tenet's motion for partial summary judgment. The question before us is whether the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the state court's denial of partial summary judgment on the ground that a state court lacks the equitable power of a superior court to authorize someone other than the surviving spouse to file a
Tenet moved for partial summary judgment on the ground that Blackmon was not the proper party to bring the wrongful death claim. The state court denied the motion in a purported exercise of its equitable power to allow an exception to OCGA § 51-4-2(a)'s stipulation that only the surviving spouse can bring a wrongful death action. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that a state court does not possess the equitable power that a superior court does to make an exception to the statute and enable a legal guardian to bring a wrongful death action.
The Court of Appeals declined Blackmon's invitation to transfer the case to superior court because it determined that Blackmon had not requested that relief in state court. The Court of Appeals went on to say that even if it were to apply Uniform Superior Court Rule 19.1 on appeal,
The Court of Appeals' determination that Blackmon failed to request transfer to superior court in the state court is clearly erroneous. Blackmon requested precisely that relief in her response to Tenet's motion for partial summary judgment. We agree with Blackmon that it would elevate form over substance to deny that a transfer motion was filed simply because the document in which the transfer request appeared was styled a "brief" and not a "motion." Moreover, it makes no difference that Blackmon requested transfer to superior court as an alternative form of relief in the event the state court found it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate Blackmon's claims.
The wrongful death statute gives the minor child a cause of action for damages for the alleged wrongful death of her mother.
The Court of Appeals reasoned that this constitutional provision has no application where, as here, the request for partial summary judgment is based on the plaintiff's lack of standing to sue rather than the state court's lack of subject matter jurisdiction or venue over a particular claim. We find the Court of Appeals' reasoning unpersuasive. First, the constitutional provision refers to "jurisdiction" generally, not "subject matter jurisdiction" in particular. The constitutional and procedural concept of "standing" falls under the broad rubric of "jurisdiction" in the general sense, and in any event, a plaintiff with standing is a prerequisite for the existence of subject matter jurisdiction.
Accordingly, we hold that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the state court's denial of the motion for partial summary judgment and should instead have vacated the state court's ruling on this issue and remanded with direction to transfer the case to superior court. We reverse the Court of Appeals' judgment and remand to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Judgment reversed and case remanded with direction.
All the Justices concur.