United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CLIFFORD SHIRLEY, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c), the Rules of this Court, and Standing Order 13-02.
before the Court is a Motion to Withdraw as Counsel [Doc.
60], filed by defense counsel, Attorney Paige Mills. The
parties appeared before the Court on November 28, 2017, for a
hearing on the Motion. Attorneys C. Dale Quisenberry and
Heather Anderson appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Attorney
Paige Mills appeared on behalf of Defendants. Lloyd Beiny,
Defendants' representative, appeared telephonically.
Accordingly, for the reasons explained further below, the
Court finds the Motion [Doc. 60] well-taken,
and it is GRANTED.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
Motion, Attorney Mills [Doc. 60] requests that she be
permitted to withdraw as counsel of record for the
Defendants. The Motion explains that she and her firm have
fundamental differences with Defendants about the appropriate
and prudent conduct of this litigation that makes their
continued representation of Defendants untenable. Further,
the Motion states that Defendants have failed to fulfill an
obligation to counsel regarding counsel's services and
has been given reasonable warning that counsel will seek to
withdraw unless such obligation is fulfilled. Defendants'
representative, Lloyd Beiny, consented to the Motion via
email, which is attached as an exhibit to the Motion.
objects [Doc. 66] to the Motion, stating that a corporation
cannot represent itself in federal court. Plaintiff states
that granting the Motion without substitute counsel would
substantially delay the action and prejudice it. Plaintiff
continues that they are already being prejudiced by defense
counsel's “pencils down” approach.
of background, the Court originally scheduled a telephone
conference for November 15, 2017, over a discovery dispute. A
few days before the telephone conference, defense counsel
filed the instant Motion. During the November 15 telephone
conference, the Court advised the parties of its concerns
regarding unrepresented corporations. The Court continued the
hearing to November 17, 2017, to discuss Beiny's
availability to attend a hearing on the Motion to Withdraw.
Subsequently, on November 17, 2017, the Court held another
telephonic conference, wherein the Court set a hearing on the
Motion to Withdraw for November 28, 2017, so that Beiny could
attend the hearing. Later, Beiny reported to the Court that
he could not attend the hearing, citing financial reasons,
and that he would appear via telephone.
the November 28 hearing, the Court addressed the Motion to
Withdraw and several discovery disputes between the parties.
Motion to Withdraw
mentioned above, the Court conducted a hearing on November
28, 2017, wherein the undersigned reiterated its concerns
regarding unrepresented corporations. The Court explained to
Beiny that a corporation may only appear in federal court
through a licensed counsel and emphasized that Defendants
must retain counsel if they wanted to continue to defend this
case and prosecute their counterclaims. See In re
Classicstar Mare Lease Litigation, No. 5:07-cv-353, 2009
WL 1468594, at *1 (E.D. Ky. May, 13, 2009) (noting that
corporations, partnerships, and associations cannot appear in
federal court except through a licensed attorney). The Court
also warned Beiny of the potential consequences if the
Defendants did not obtain new counsel (e.g., default judgment
being entered against them and/or their counterclaims being
dismissed). Beiny stated that he understood the consequences
and that he consented to Attorney Mills withdrawing from the
to Local Rule 83.4, in order to withdraw from a case, an
attorney must do the following:
(1) File a motion with the Court requesting permission to
withdraw as ...