Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Not Starring Bruce Willis

An non-attorney cannot represent an entity, according to a ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court

Appellant, the Army of the 12 Monkeys, a.k.a. the Army of the Twelve Monkeys (“the Army”), appeals the judgment of the Twelfth District Court of Appeals dismissing its complaint for a writ of mandamus for failure to pay the filing fee. We affirm.

The Army is an unincorporated nonprofit association registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. On March 16, 2018, Sean Swain, then an inmate at the Warren Correctional Institution and the authorized agent for the Army, filed a complaint on behalf of the Army for a writ of mandamus in the court of appeals against appellee, the Warren County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that the common pleas court was failing in its duty to provide the Army with copies of filings in a pending lawsuit that the Army had filed against the Warren Correctional Institution.

A problem

Swain does not appear as a licensed attorney on the Supreme Court of Ohio’s attorney-directory website. Therefore, the mandamus complaint that he filed on behalf of the Army violated R.C. 4705.01 and should have been dismissed by the court of appeals on that basis. And because this conclusion is true regardless of whether the court of appeals properly denied the Army’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, we see no need to analyze that question here.

(Mike Frisch)


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