International Watchman Inc. v. 81 January Inc.
Order signed by Judge James S. Gwin on 6/6/2017. The Court DENIES Defendants' motion for reconsideration, GRANTS Defendants' motion for an extension, and ORDERS Plaintiff to serve Defendants in accordance with the Local Rules. (Related document 18 ) (O,K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
INTERNATIONAL WATCHMAN, INC., :
81 JANUARY, INC., et al.,
CASE NO. 1:17-CV-497
[Resolving Doc. 18]
JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:
Plaintiff International Watchman, Inc. sued Defendant 81 January, Inc. for trademark
infringement.1 Defendant’s Director, William Shaine, moved pro se to dismiss the lawsuit on
jurisdictional grounds.2 Shaine also asked for leave to appear in this case.3 Plaintiff moved to
strike Defendant’s motions, arguing that corporations cannot litigate pro se.4
The Court granted Plaintiff’s motion to strike, holding that Ohio law requires a licensed
attorney to represent a corporation in all non-small-claims-court proceedings.5
Docs. 6 & 15.
Gass v. Headlands Contracting & Tunneling, Inc., 2008 WL 4964656, at *1 (Ohio Ct. App. Nov. 21, 2008)
(“[O]utside of small claims court, an individual, including a corporate officer, who is not an attorney, may not
appear in court or maintain litigation in propria persona on behalf of a corporation.”); see also Disciplinary Counsel
v. Kafele, 843 N.E.2d 169, 173 (Ohio 2006) (“And with limited exception, unauthorized practice occurs when a
layperson renders legal services for another person or for a corporate entity by attempting to manage legal actions
and proceedings before courts of law.”).
Case No. 17-CV-497
Now, Defendant Shaine asks the Court to reconsider its previous decision.6 Shaine says
that 81 January, Inc. lacks several corporate characteristics7 and will not invoke its corporate
Defendant Shaine’s argument loses. Defendant 81 January, Inc. is a registered
corporation in Massachusetts9 and must be represented by counsel. However, because Plaintiff
also sues Defendant Shaine personally, Shaine may represent himself pro se.
The Court also grants Defendant 81 January, Inc.’s request for a twenty-day extension to
retain counsel.10 The Court also orders Plaintiff to serve Defendants in accordance with the
Northern District of Ohio’s Local Rules.11
Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion for reconsideration, GRANTS
Defendants’ motion for an extension, and ORDERS Plaintiff to serve Defendants in accordance
with the Local Rules.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: June 6, 2017
James S. Gwin
JAMES S. GWIN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Id. at 2 (“Defendant 81 January, Inc. never commenced business, has no bylaws, has no bank account, has no eBay
account, has no money with which to hire an attorney.”).
Id. at 3.
Doc. 18 at 3.
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