United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION & ORDER
HERNÁNDEZ, District Judge
Corporate Defendants' failure to obtain counsel, Plaintiff
moves for an order of default against Corporate Defendants
and an order striking Corporate Defendants' initial
Answer and Affirmative Defenses, and Answer and Affirmative
Defenses, and Answer and Affirmative Defenses to the Second
Amended Complaint. Defendant Timothy Rote filed a Motion
Requesting Deferring Decision to Grant Default Judgment
against Corporate Defendants. ECF 187. The Court grants
Plaintiff's motion and denies Defendant Rote's
case was filed in March of 2014. All Defendants were
initially represented by attorney Jeffrey Hassan. See Not.
Appearance, ECF 18. On December 28, 2015, Mr. Hassan filed an
Unopposed Motion to Withdraw as Attorney, which the Court
granted the same day. See ECF 88, 89. Also on
December 28, 2015, the Court allowed Mr. Rote to proceed as a
self-represented party. See Order Granting Defendant
Rote's CM/ECF Registration as a Self-Represented Party,
February 16, 2016, Magistrate Judge Stewart held a telephone
conference in which she granted Plaintiff's objection to
Mr. Rote appearing on behalf of Corporate Defendants and
informed Mr. Rote that Corporate Defendants could only
participate in this litigation through a licensed attorney.
Minutes, ECF 111; Marshall Decl. ¶ 4, ECF 189. On
February 26, 2016, attorney Andrew Brandsness appeared on
behalf of Corporate Defendants. ECF 114. However, on October
12, 2016, Mr. Brandsness filed an Unopposed Motion to
Withdraw as Attorney for Corporate Defendants. ECF 153.
October 18, 2016, Magistrate Judge You held a telephone
conference in which she verbally granted Mr. Brandsness'
motion to withdraw, “on the condition that [he]
notif[y] the corporate defendants that they may not appear
without counsel and that the failure to appear with counsel
may result in adverse action by the court.” Minutes,
Defendants failed to obtain counsel. Therefore, on November
30, 2016, Judge You entered another minute order reiterating
the consequences Corporate Defendants could face for failure
to comply with the Court's order and Local Rules:
On October 18, 2016, this court allowed withdrawal of the
corporate defendants' attorney only on the condition that
the corporate defendants be notified that they were not
permitted to appear without counsel and that the failure to
appear with counsel may result in adverse action by the
court. This is the second time this court has intervened and
made clear that the corporate defendants must retain counsel,
as required by Local Rule 83-9(b). ORDER: The court will not
consider arguments on any motion on behalf of an
unrepresented corporate entity. Instead, at the upcoming
hearing . . ., the court will entertain motions for default
judgment against unrepresented corporate entities.
Minute Order (internal citations omitted), ECF 175.
February 9, 2017, the parties appeared by telephone for a
hearing in front of Judge You. Mr. Rote appeared pro
se and Corporate Defendants were unrepresented.
Plaintiff's attorney expressed her intent to file a
motion for default against Corporate Defendants. Marshall
Decl. ¶ 6. Mr. Rote did not respond. Id. Judge
You reminded Mr. Rote that he could not respond to the motion
for default on behalf of Corporate Defendants. Id.
Rote filed a Motion Requesting Deferring Decision to Grant
Default Judgment against Corporate Defendants on February 9,
2017. ECF 187. The next day, Plaintiff filed the present
Motion for Default of Corporate Defendants. ECF 188.
corporation may appear in federal court only through licensed
counsel. 28 U.S.C. § 1654; Local Rule 83-9(b);
D-Beam Ltd. P'ship v. Roller Derby Skates, Inc.,
366 F.3d 972, 973- 74 (9th Cir. 2004); see also United
States v. High Country Broad. Co., Inc.,3 F.3d 1244,
1245 (9th Cir. 1993). When a corporate defendant disregards
the Court's order to retain counsel, the Court may enter
a default against it. See, e.g., High Country Broad,
3. F.3d at 1245 (“When it became apparent that Crisler
(who was not a licensed attorney at that time) was attempting
to represent High Country, the district court ordered High
Country to retain counsel for the duration of the litigation.
When High Country failed to do so, the district court entered
a default judgment against it; this was perfectly
appropriate.”); see also Employee Painters'
Trust v. Ethan Enterprises, Inc., 480 F.3d 993, 998 (9th
Cir. 2007) (“[W]e have recognized default as a
permissible sanction for failure to ...