United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
July 18, 2014
Andre Valentine, Plaintiff,
Ali Management, doing business as Sunoco; Nadeem Sheikh; Shahid Zamir, as agent of the Defendants; and Aliya Sheikh, Defendants.
SHIVA V. HODGES, Magistrate Judge.
This matter comes before the court on the motion of Dorothy H. Hogg, Esq., to be relived as counsel for Nadeem Sheikh, Aliya Sheikh, S.C. Aiken Inc., S.C. Sumter Broad, Inc., S.C. Sumter Guignard Inc., and S.C. Georgetown Inc. ("Defendants"). [Entry #46]. Ms. Hogg indicates that she provided a copy of the motion, filed on June 6, 2014, to Nadeem Sheikh and Aliya Sheikh, individually and on behalf of S.C. Aiken Inc., S.C. Sumter Broad, Inc., S.C. Sumter Guignard Inc., and S.C. Georgetown Inc. Id. Although Ms. Hogg indicates that Defendants consent to her withdrawal, the motion also informs Defendants that they may file an objection to the motion within 17 days. Id. Ms. Hogg further indicates that she has informed Defendants that corporations cannot proceed without representation by an attorney admitted in this district. Id.
It is well settled that pro se litigants, regardless of the nature of their connection to a corporation as an officer or shareholder, cannot legally represent corporations in this court. Corporations may only appear in this federal court and litigate through a licensed attorney who is formally admitted to practice and in good standing with this court. See Days Inn Worldwide, Inc. v. JBS, Inc., C/A No. 4:08-1771-TLW-TER, 2010 WL 625391, at *2 (D.S.C. Feb. 19, 2010); see also First Hartford Corp. Pension Plan & Trust v. United States, 194 F.3d 1279, 1290 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (holding that pro se actions by nonattorneys on behalf of corporations "fail for lack of standing"); Pridgen v. Andresen, 113 F.3d 391, 392-93 (2d Cir. 1997) (finding that a pro se litigant may not represent corporation, estate, partnership, or "his or her minor child").
The court grants Ms. Hogg's motion to withdraw. Absent an appearance of counsel on behalf of S.C. Aiken Inc., S.C. Sumter Broad, Inc., S.C. Sumter Guignard Inc., and S.C. Georgetown Inc. on or before August 18, 2014, they will be held in default because a corporation may not proceed without counsel. The matter will proceed against Nadeem Sheikh and Aliya Sheikh, whether represented or proceeding pro se.
The court directs defendants Nadeem Sheikh and Aliya Sheikh to notify the court by August 18, 2014, of the identity of the new attorney(s) they retain to represent them in this case or, alternatively, of their desire to proceed with this litigation pro se, i.e., without an attorney. To this end, defendants Nadeem Sheikh and Aliya Sheikh shall, by August 18, 2014, complete the attached notice and mail it to the Clerk of Court at the address indicated. If defendants Nadeem Sheikh and Aliya Sheikh fail to file the attached letter with the Clerk within the time prescribed, the court will consider them as proceeding pro se.
Nadeem Sheikh and Aliya Sheikh are specifically advised that, if no new attorney is obtained to represent their interests, the court will expect this litigation to be conducted in accordance with all provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and that the court is unable to provide them with legal advice. Failure to comply with court rules could have serious consequences including, but not limited to, striking a defense, striking a pleading, and/or holding the party in default.
IT IS SO ORDERED.