Bishop v. Amerisafe Services, Inc. et al

Filing 7

ORDER granting 6 Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Answer of Defendant Amerisafe Services, Inc. The record shall reflect that the 5 Answer filed by Defendant Coleman pro se is stricken, but only to the extent it is filed on behalf of Defenda nt Amerisafe. It is further ordered that Defendant Amerisafe is granted an extension of time, up to and including 9/29/2017, to file its answer or otherwise respond to 1 Plaintiff's Complaint. Signed by Magistrate Judge Teresa J. James on 9/8/2017. (Copy of Order mailed to Defendant Amerisafe Services, Inc. by regular mail on 9/8/2017.) (byk)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS GARRETT BISHOP, Plaintiff, v. AMERISAFE SERVICES, INC., and CHRISTOPHER COLEMAN, Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No. 17-cv-1191-JTM-TJJ ORDER This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike Answer of Defendant Amerisafe Services, Inc. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff moves the Court to strike Defendants’ Answer insofar as it is filed on behalf of Defendant Amerisafe Services Inc.(“Amerisafe”). He argues that a corporation may only be represented in court by an attorney at law, and because co-defendant Christopher Coleman is not an attorney, he cannot answer on behalf of the corporate defendant. No party has filed any opposition to the motion. On August 22, 2017, Defendant Coleman, proceeding pro se, filed his Answer (ECF No. 5) in response to Plaintiff=s Complaint purportedly on behalf of himself and on behalf of corporate Defendant Amerisafe. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Coleman is the Chief Operating Officer of Defendant Amerisafe. Appearances by parties in federal courts are governed by 28 U.S.C.A. ' 1654, which provides that “the parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively, are permitted to manage and conduct causes therein.”1 1 28 U.S.C. § 1654 (emphasis added). Under District of Kansas Local Rule 83.5.1(c), only attorneys admitted to practice before this court or duly admitted pro hac vice may appear or practice in this court. It further provides: “Nothing in these rules prohibits any individual from appearing personally on his or her own behalf.”2 With respect to corporate parties, the Supreme Court, in Rowland v. California Men=s Colony,3 has noted that “save in a few aberrant cases, the lower courts have uniformly held that 28 U.S.C. ' 1654, providing that ‘parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or by counsel,’ does not allow corporations, partnerships, or associations to appear in federal court otherwise than through a licensed attorney.@ The Court thus reaffirmed that “a corporation may appear in the federal courts only through licensed counsel.”4 Furthermore, any person who is not a licensed attorney and attempts to represent another person or entity in court is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.5 Thus, the law is clear that corporate Defendant Amerisafe must be represented by licensed counsel to appear before this Court. Because Defendant Coleman is not an attorney licensed to practice before this Court, he cannot represent corporate Defendant Amerisafe by filing an answer on its behalf in this case. Defendant Amerisafe may appear in the federal courts only through licensed counsel, who has entered an appearance on its behalf. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT that Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike 2 D. Kan. Rule 83.5.1(c) (emphasis added). 3 Rowland v. California Men’s Colony, Unit II Men's Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 202 (1993). 4 Id. 5 See State ex rel. Stephan v. Williams, 246 Kan. 681, 691–92, 793 P.2d 234, 241–42 (1990). 2 Answer of Defendan Amerisafe Services, In (ECF No . 6) is grante The record shall refle o nt nc. ed. ect that the Answer (ECF No. 5) file by Defend Colema pro se is s A F ed dant an stricken, but only to the extent it is filed on be ehalf of Defe fendant Ame erisafe. IT IS FURTH T HER ORDE ERED that Defendant A D Amerisafe is hereby gran an exten nted nsion of time, up to and inc u cluding Sept tember 29, 2017, to file its answer o otherwise respond to 2 or Plaintiff’s Complaint Any such answer or re t. a esponsive ple eading must be filed by an attorney who t is license to practice before this Court and who has ente ed e s w ered an appe earance on be ehalf of Defendan Amerisafe in this case Failure to answer may result in en of defaul judgment nt e e. y ntry lt against Defendant Am D merisafe. A copy of this Order shal be mailed to Defendan Amerisafe at the addre listed in t ll t nt e ess the Complain nt. IT IS SO ORD T DERED. Dated in Kan City, Ka D nsas ansas on this 8th day of S September, 2 2017. Teresa J. Ja ames U. S. Magis strate Judge 3

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