ZMH v. Wells Fargo Bank

Filing 12

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE: Plaintiff is ordered to respond in writing to explain why this case should not be dismissed. Plaintiffs response is due by 10/16/2019. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu on 10/3/19. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(ig, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/3/2019)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 ZMH, Case No. 19-cv-03739-DMR Plaintiff, 8 9 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE v. WELLS FARGO BANK, 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Defendant. 12 Pro se minor Plaintiff ZMH filed a complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis 13 (“IFP”). [Docket Nos. 1, 2.] The case was filed by his “next friend,” Regional Advocacy Group. 14 On September 25, 2019, the court issued an order to show cause. [Docket No. 7.] The order 15 explained that a “next friend” who is “neither an attorney nor represented by one may not bring a 16 lawsuit on behalf of minor or incompetent plaintiffs.” Roe v. Suter, 165 F.3d 917 (9th Cir. 1998) 17 (dismissing a complaint brought by a non-attorney “next friend” of minor plaintiffs). 18 On September 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to appoint Patrina Harrison, his mother, to 19 serve as his guardian ad litem. [Docket No. 11.] Plaintiff appears to argue that he may be 20 represented pro se by a guardian ad litem. This is incorrect. While a guardian ad litem must be 21 appointed to represent a minor’s interests if the minor is otherwise unrepresented, Fed. R. Civ. P. 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 17(c)(2), the guardian ad litem does not serve as counsel for a pro se minor. In other words, a minor with a guardian ad litem must still retain a lawyer. Johns v. Cty. of San Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 877 (9th Cir. 1997) (holding that “a parent or guardian cannot bring an action on behalf of a minor child without retaining a lawyer”); Jianjun Xie v. Oakland Unified Sch. Dist., No. 12-cv-02950-CRB, 2013 WL 812425, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 5, 2013) (holding that the plaintiffs could not bring any claims on behalf of their daughter without licensed counsel); Van Kim Lai v. Vanhart, No. 09-cv05364-JW, 2010 WL 11586756, at *3 (N.D. Cal. May 7, 2010) (“The fact that a minor may be 1 represented by a guardian ad litem does not alter the principle embodied in 28 U.S.C. § 1654 that a 2 non-attorney is not allowed to represent another individual in federal court litigation without the 3 assistance of counsel.” (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)). 4 Because Plaintiff is a minor, his claims may only proceed if he is represented by qualified 5 counsel. Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff is ordered to respond in writing to explain why this case 6 should not be dismissed. Plaintiff’s response is due by October 16, 2019. 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 3, 2019 ______________________________________ DONNA M. RYU United States Magistrate Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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