Cooper v. Laine et al
ORDER denying 6 Motion for TRO; denying 6 Motion for Permanent Injunction; granting 9 Motion to Dismiss, as more fully set out. Signed by Honorable David L. Russell on 1/30/17. (jw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
RONALD RAY COOPER, on behalf )
of KENNETH RAY COOSEWOON )
MARY VICTORIA LAINE, et al.,
Case No. CIV-16-1059-R
Before the Court are Plaintiff’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and for
a Permanent Injunction after a Trial on the Merits (Doc. 6) and Defendant’s Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 9).
Plaintiff pleads that he is under the guardianship of Defendant Mary Laine as
designated by an Oklahoma court. Ms. Laine apparently ensured that Mr. Coosewoon was
moved to the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center for Supervision. Attached to Plaintiff’s
Complaint, in which he seeks injunctive relief allowing him to visit his home in Lawton,
is a Durable Power of Attorney designating Mr. Coosewoon’s grandson, Mr. Ronald
Cooper, as such. In other words, Mr. Coosewoon, who is already under a guardianship, has
tried to convey power of attorney to Mr. Cooper, who now brings this suit pro se on behalf
of Mr. Coosewoon.
Because Mr. Coosewoon is under a guardianship, as he pleads in his Complaint, he
lacked the power to convey power of attorney. And even if Mr. Cooper were now able to
invoke power of attorney on behalf of Mr. Coosewoon, Mr. Cooper could not represent
Mr. Coosewoon as a non-lawyer under Federal of Civil Procedure 17(c)1 and 28 U.S.C. §
1654.2 “It goes without saying that it is not in the interests of minors or incompetents that
they be represented by non-attorneys. Where they have claims that require adjudication,
they are entitled to trained legal assistance so their rights may be fully protected.” Mann v.
Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140, 1150 (10th Cir. 2007) (citing Cheung v. Youth Orchestra Found.
of Buffalo, 906 F.2d 59, 61 (2d Cir.1990)). “Even if [Cooper] were [Coosewoon’s] legal
guardian, [he] would not be able to bring suit on his behalf without the assistance of
counsel.” Id. (holding that attorney who was not licensed in state and had not been granted
permission to practice before federal court could not prosecute pro se appeal on behalf of
her father and was required to have assistance of counsel); also see Meeker v. Kercher, 782
F.2d 153, 154 (10th Cir. 1986) (holding that father did not have the right to represent minor
daughters pro se).
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is therefore GRANTED. Plaintiff’s Motion for
Injunctive Relief is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 30th day of January 2017.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(c) provides that only a “general guardian,” “committee,” “conservator,” or a “like
fiduciary” “may sue or defend on behalf of . . . an incompetent person.”
“In all courts of the United States 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.”
28 U.S.C. § 1654.
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?