Howard et al v. The United States of America et al
ORDER denying 6 Motion to Use the U.S. Marshal; denying 7 Motion to file electronically; vacating 14 Report and Recommendations. The Court directs the Clerk to attach copy of Rule 4 to this Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps on 10/5/21. (wwp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
KEVIN DEMETRIUS HOWARD and
FIVE MINOR CHILDREN C.A.H., K.M.H.,
P.G.H., S.P.H., and I.R.H.,
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
THE STATE OF GEORGIA; UNNAMED
MEMBERS OF THE AUGUSTA JOINT
C.A.V.E. TASK FORCE; THE STATE
OF SOUTH CAROLINA; GEORGIA
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
by and through DFACS; AUGUSTA
UTILITIES DEPARTMENT; THE
CHARLESTON COUNTY SCHOOL
DISTRICT; and, THE RICHMOND
COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION,
On September 27, 2021, the Court issued a Report and Recommendation
recommending dismissal of the complaint without prejudice for failure to pay the filing fee
and failure to file an amended complaint. (Doc. no. 14.) Plaintiff Kevin Howard has now
submitted the $402.00 filing fee and an amended complaint. (Doc. no. 16.) Accordingly, the
Court VACATES the September 27th Report and Recommendation. (Doc. no. 14.)
Mr. Howard purports to bring this action on behalf of himself and his five minor
children. (Doc. nos. 1, 16.) However, Mr. Howard is proceeding pro se, and no attorney has
made an appearance for the children. Nor does the complaint list a guardian or next friend
for the minor children. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(c)(2) provides as follows:
A minor or an incompetent person who does not have a duly appointed
representative may sue by a next friend or by a guardian ad litem. The court
must appoint a guardian ad litem — or issue another appropriate order — to
protect a minor or incompetent person who is unrepresented in an action.
More importantly, a parent cannot represent a child pro se. See FuQua v. Massey, 615 F.
App’x 611, 612 (11th Cir. 2015) (“The right to appear pro se . . . is limited to parties
conducting ‘their own cases,’ and does not extend to non-attorney parties representing the
interests of others. Consequently, we have held that ‘parents who are not attorneys may not
bring a pro se action on their child’s behalf.’” (quoting Devine v. Indian River Cnty. Sch.
Bd., 121 F.3d 576, 581 (11th Cir. 1997), overruled in part on other grounds by Winkelman
ex rel. Winkelman v. Parma City Sch. Dist., 550 U.S. 516, 535 (2007)). As such, Mr.
Howard cannot bring an action on behalf of his five minor children or otherwise act as their
legal representative. Accordingly, Mr. Howard is DIRECTED to SHOW CAUSE within
seven days from the date of this Order why the five minor children should not be dismissed
from this case.
Because Mr. Howard is responsible for serving Defendants in accordance with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4, the Court DENIES the Motion to Use the U.S. Marshal.
(Doc. no. 6.) The Court DIRECTS the CLERK to attach copy of Rule 4 to this Order so
that Plaintiffs may determine the appropriate method of service for each Defendant. While
Mr. Howard should familiarize himself with this rule, he should not attempt to serve any
defendant until the Court can sort out the issue of whether the claims of the minor children
will be allowed to proceed.
The Court DENIES the Motion to File Electronically, (doc. no. 7), because of the
Court’s policy not to allow “pro se litigants to utilize electronic filing.” Blochowicz v.
Wilkie, No. CV 120-111, 2020 WL 5028224, at *1 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 25, 2020) (citing Jenkins
v. Drummond, No. CV410-008, 2010 WL 2332700, at *1 n.1 (S.D. Ga. May 25, 2010) and
United States District Court, Southern District of Georgia Administrative Procedures for
Filing, Signing, and Verifying Pleadings and Papers by Electronic Means).)
SO ORDERED this 5th day of October, 2021, at Augusta, Georgia.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?