International Watchman Inc. v. 81 January Inc., No. 1:2017cv00497 - Document 16 (N.D. Ohio 2017)

Court Description: Opinion & Order signed by Judge James S. Gwin on 5/18/17 granting plaintiff's motion to strike defendant's Director Shaine's motions to dismiss and for leave to appear. (Related Docs. 6 , 12 , and 15 ) (D,MA)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO -----------------------------------------------------: INTERNATIONAL WATCHMAN, INC., : : Plaintiff, : : vs. : : 81 JANUARY, INC., et al., : : Defendants. : : ------------------------------------------------------ CASE NO. 1:17-CV-497 OPINION & ORDER [Resolving Docs. 6, 12, 15] JAMES S. GWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE: Plaintiff International Watchman, Inc. sued Defendant 81 January, Inc. for trademark infringement.1 Defendant’s Director, William Shaine, moved pro se to dismiss the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds.2 Shaine also asked for leave to appear in this case.3 Plaintiff moved to strike Defendant’s motions, arguing that corporations cannot litigate pro se.4 Plaintiff’s argument wins. Under Ohio law, a licensed attorney must represent a corporation in all non-small-claimscourt proceedings.5 Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to strike Defendant’s Director Shaine’s motions to dismiss and for leave to appear. 1 Doc. 1. Docs. 6 & 15. 3 Id. 4 Doc. 12. 5 Gass v. Headlands Contracting & Tunneling, Inc., 2008 WL 4964656, at *1 (Ohio Ct. App. Nov. 21, 2008) (“[O]utside of small claims court, an individual, including a corporate officer, who is not an attorney, may not appear in court or maintain litigation in propria persona on behalf of a corporation.”); see also Disciplinary Counsel v. Kafele, 843 N.E.2d 169, 173 (Ohio 2006) (“And with limited exception, unauthorized practice occurs when a layperson renders legal services for another person or for a corporate entity by attempting to manage legal actions and proceedings before courts of law.”). 2 Case No. 1:17-CV-497 Gwin, J. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: May 18, 2017 s/ James S. Gwin JAMES S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -2-