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Pnkt LLC v. Contemporary Women's Care

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 3, 2013

PNKT LLC, dba Fast Service Billing, an Arizona limited liability company, Plaintiff,
v.
Contemporary Women's Care, an Arizona Professional Limited Liability Company and Dr. Ali Baradaran, Defendants.

ORDER

LAWRENCE O. ANDERSON, Magistrate Judge.

This case arises on the Court's review of the docket.

Pro se Plaintiff's Complaint was filed on May 22, 2013. (Doc. 1) Plaintiff Long Nguyen and Defendants Contemporary Women's Care and Dr. Ali Baradaran consented in writing to jurisdiction before a magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(c). (Docs. 5, 10) Mr. Nguyen purports to represent Plaintiff PNKT LLC, dba Fast Service Billing, alleged in the Complaint as an Arizona limited liability company. (Doc. 1 at 1) Mr. Nguyen is neither identified as a lawyer on the State Bar of Arizona's website[1] nor admitted as a lawyer authorized to practice law in the District of Arizona.

On June 14, 2013, the Court issued an order, doc. 8, to Plaintiff, explaining that only licensed attorneys may represent corporations, limited liability companies, and other business entities in federal court. See DLC Dermacare, LLC v. Castillo, 2012 WL 5464962, at *3 (D. Ariz. Nov. 8, 2012) (citing, inter alia, Rowland v. Cal. Men's Colony, Unit II, Men's Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993); Lotanzio v. COMTA, 481 F.3d 137, 140 (2d Cir. 2007) (holding that LLC could appear in federal court only through licensed attorney); D. Beam Ltd. Partnership v. Roller Derby Skates, Inc., 366 F.3d 972, 973-74 (9th Cir. 2004) ("It is a long standing rule that corporations and other unincorporated associations must appear in court through an attorney'") (alteration and citation omitted)); s ee also Underdog Trucking, LLC v. Arizona Federal Credit Union, 2010 WL 3023874 (D. Ariz. Aug. 2, 2010); LimoStars, Inc. v. New Jersey Car and Limo, Inc., 2011 WL 1465533 (D. Ariz. April 15, 2011).

Generally, the State of Arizona also does not permit non-lawyers to practice law on behalf of other individuals, corporations or other legal entities in a judicial proceeding. See Rule 31(a)(2)(A)(3) and (b), Ariz. R. Sup.Ct. While a natural person may always appear pro se for himself or herself, a corporation or limited liability company is a legal entity unto itself quite separate from its owners and officers. In order to respect the corporate form, Arizona has also long ago adopted the rule a corporation cannot appear in court without a lawyer. Jacquez v. Diem Corp., 2003 WL 25548423, at *3 (D. Ariz. 2003) (citing Boydston v. Strole Development Company, 193 Ariz. 47, 969 P.2d 653 (Ariz. 1998) and Ramada Inns, Inc. v. Lane & Bird Advertizing, Inc., 102 Ariz. 127, 128, 426 P.2d 395, 396 (Ariz. 1967)). More recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the preclusion of a non-lawyer from representing a limited liability company at a bond forfeiture hearing. State v. Liberty Bail Bonds, 2008 WL 4095513, at *3 n. 6 (Az. Ct. App. 2008) ("[T]he Arizona Supreme Court appears to treat corporations and limited liability companies similarly with regard to the unauthorized practice of law. See, e.g., Ariz. R. Sup.Ct. 31(d)(3)."). While there are some minor exceptions, none apply here.

The District Court of Arizona follows Arizona law regarding the practice of law. Marchant v. U.S. Collections West, Inc., 12 F.Supp.2d 1001, 1005 (D. Ariz. 1998). There is no doubt the filing of a complaint constitutes the "practice of law."

Plaintiff PNKT LLC dba Fast Service Billing was allowed a reasonable opportunity to retain a lawyer, appropriately licensed to practice law in Arizona and admitted to practice in this District Court, to file an Amended Complaint and represent Plaintiff PNKT LLC dba Fast Service Billing in this case and was fairly warned that the failure to do so would result in the Complaint being dismissed without prejudice. Plaintiff PNKT LLC, dba Fast Service Billing was required to retain a lawyer, appropriately licensed to practice law in Arizona and admitted to practice in this District Court, who shall file an Amended Complaint herein on or before Monday, June 24, 2013, or the Complaint would be dismissed without prejudice. (Doc. 8) Plaintiff has not filed an Amended Complaint nor has there been an appearance entered by a lawyer, appropriate licensed to practice law in Arizona and admitted to practice in this District Court.

Plaintiff and Long Nguyen having failed to timely comply with the Court's June 14, 2013 Order, doc. 8, and on the Court's own motion,

IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to comply with this Court's Orders. The Clerk of Court is kindly directed to terminate this case.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED discharging the Court's Order to Show Cause issued to Defendants on June 28, 2013. (Doc. 9)


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