Sunday, May 5, 2013
LLC Must Be Represented By Represented by Counsel
A decision out of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan has held that a limited liability company must be represented by legal counsel, and may not be represented by a member thereof. Vandenburg & Sons Furniture, Inc. v. Katchen, Case No. 1:12-CV-1021 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 12, 2013).
Katchen, on behalf of Affordable Life Limited Liability Company, filed a motion to dismiss an action for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper service. Katchen, a member of the LLC, was not himself an attorney. Beginning with the rule that a corporation may be represented only by licensed counsel, the Court applied the same rule to an LLC:
In his motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, Katchen also requests that the Court dismiss the Complaint against Affordable for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper service of process. However, corporations are required to be represented in court by licensed attorneys. Detroit Bar Ass’n v. Union Guardian Trust Co., 282 Mich. 707, 711, 281 N.W. 432, 433 (1938) (“While an individual may appear in proper person, a corporation, because of the very fact of its being a corporation, can appear only by attorney, regardless of whether it is interested in its own corporate capacity or in a fiduciary capacity.”); Peters Prod., Inc. v. Desnick Broad Co., 171 Mich. App. 283, 287, 429 N.W.2d 654, 655 (1988). Katchen does not purport to be an attorney licensed to practice before this Court. Therefore, even if Katchen is a former agent of Affordable, a limited liability company, he may not assert a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or improper service on behalf of Affordable. Thus, the Court will not consider Katchen’s arguments on behalf of Affordable.