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Renaissance Financial Corp. v. Renaissance Financial Group

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


June 13, 2008

RENAISSANCE FINANCIAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RENAISSANCE FINANCIAL GROUP, LLC, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge

ORDER AND MEMORANDUM

On May 9, 2008, Renaissance Financial Corporation filed suit against Renaissance Financial Group, LLC, claiming subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Renaissance Financial Corporation served summons on Renaissance Financial Group, LLC, on June 5, 2008. Renaissance Financial Group, LLC's, Answer is, therefore, due on June 25, 2008. On June 2, 2008, Gerald Loftin, presumably a member of Renaissance Financial Group, LLC, mailed a letter on behalf of the LLC to counsel for Renaissance Financial Corporation with a copy to the Court, which was received on June 10, 2008.

The Court will not construe Loftin's letter as an Answer. It is well established that corporations, partnerships, and associations may only appear in federal court through licensed counsel. See Rowland v. Cal. Men's Colony, Unit II Men's Advisory Council, 506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993) (explaining that 28 U.S.C. § 1654 does not permit corporations to appear without a licensed attorney). Like a corporation, a limited liability company "is a legal entity with an independent legal existence unto its own," separate from the interests of its members. See Operating Eng. Local 139 Health Benefit Fund v. Rawson Plumbing, 130 F.Supp.2d 1022, 1023 (E.D. Wis. 2001) (citing Strong Delivery Ministry Ass'n v. Bd. of Appeals of Cook County, 543 F.2d 32, 34 (7th Cir. 1976) (per curiam)). Moreover, Illinois law specifically prohibits non-lawyer members of limited liability companies from practicing law in this state. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 721(a)(4).

Unless Mr. Loftin is an attorney, authorized to practice in this Court and licensed to practice in the State of Illinois, he is prohibited from representing Renaissance Financial Group, LLC, in this matter or filing an Answer on its behalf. Renaissance Financial Group, LLC's Answer must be filed by licensed counsel.

Accordingly, the Court hereby STRIKES the letter (Doc. 7). Additionally, the Court DIRECTS the Clerk of the Court to mail a copy of this Order to Mr. Gerald Loftin, Renaissance Financial Group, LLC, 77 Access Road, Suite 6, Norwood, MA 02062. The Court ADVISES Mr. Loftin that, because he cannot appear pro se on behalf of Renaissance Financial Group, LLC, he must hire an attorney. Finally, the Court WARNS Mr. Loftin that failure to appear by counsel may lead to default and default judgment.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge

20080613

© 1992-2008 VersusLaw Inc.



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