Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3d DCA Watch -- Corporations Can Now Represent Themselves!



Hey, I remember the robot from Demon Seed Saturn 3 I, Robot Predator The Iron Giant (ed. -- he was a good robot, actually),and if robots and computers can run the world and dominate humanity, why can't faceless corporations represent themselves in court?

According to the 3d, they apparently can:
Through a non-attorney, corporative representative, United timely served a response to the complaint at issue in the form of a letter. Because this response was sufficient to require Figueredo to provide notice to United of his applications for default and final judgment, it was improper for the trial court to treat United’s response to the complaint as a nullity.
Hold on -- don't you need a lawyer to file a response to a complaint on behalf of a corporation?

Or did Citizens United do away with that musty old requirement too?

In other bunker news, in order to prevail on an unjust enrichment claim you need to actually confer a benefit, and Judge Bernstein gets reversed on a purge order.

Finally, "subject matter jurisdiction" and "standing" are not the same thing.

(But you smart guys already knew that.)

UPDATE:

Wait a second, I totally forgot about Toby the Robot.

He was a good robot too (I think?).

9 comments:

  1. Of course the corporation can't represent itself. BUT if they did file some letter with the Court why wouldn't you simply notice them on the application for default and notice of hearing just to cover the bases?

    Shitty lower court ruling properly doinked.

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  2. Question: Why can't business entities (particularly small ones which can be ruined by attorney fees) represent themselves in a pro se manner as defendants and counter plaintiffs? Informed pro se litigants can do very well for themselves, at a fraction of the costs for attorney fees.

    The reason is clear, it would take business from attorneys.

    The right to proceed pro se, for a business, as a compromise, could be limited to if they are first made a defendant. This would work to unclog the courts of so many disguised strike suits.

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  3. 3:35 is correct. The clerk cannot enter a default even if the "paper" is a legal nullity. It is not the function of the clerk to make legal determinations (even though they do it 100 times a day). The proper procedure is to file an ex parte motion to strike to the court with an order citing the case law. Then file the motion for final default judgment. The Appellee in this case confessed error so the court really had no alternative. But the decision does not upset the precedent that a corporation cannot represent itself through one of its officers. Most judges will recognize a pro se motion for additional time if filed by an officer or other or other type of housekeeping pleadings that do not go to the merits of the case.

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  4. 4:49: I believe the thinking is that if you're going to enjoy the benefits and protections of establishing a company, you need to hire counsel to represent it. Otherwise, do business in your individual capacity.

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  5. http://koshermeatballlawblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-cats-away.html

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  6. Just remember that corporations are people. People who live forever and must not think about ANYTHING but profit.

    We have created a nation ruled by immortal sociopaths. What could go wrong?

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  7. 7:46 AM: I have never seen that explanation. If so, legislatures would have written that principle into the many laws concerning legal entities, i.e., sub-chapter S corps, corps, LLCs, P.A.s etc. Clearly, they haven't.

    Moreover, a small business owner (or any owner for that matter) certainly can be deprived of property in a lawsuit against an entity he/she owns an interest in ... so he/she has a direct interest in the outcome of the litigation. So why shouldn't he/she be allowed to represent his interests?

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