United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion to
strike the answer filed January 30, 2019, as it pertains to
defendant Carolina Sun Hospitality, LLC (“Carolina Sun
Hospitality”) (DE 9). Defendants have not responded to
the motion and the time to do so has passed. In this posture,
the issues raised are ripe for ruling. For the reasons that
follow, plaintiff's motion is granted.
initiated this action on December 12, 2018, alleging causes
of action against defendants for trademark infringement, in
violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114; false designation of
origin, in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); unfair and
deceptive trade practices, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 75-1.1.; and common law trademark infringement and
unfair competition. Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive
relief. Defendant Carolina Sun Hospitality was served on
January 11, 2019. On January 30, 2019, defendant Khalid
Durrani, acting pro se, filed an answer to the
complaint, ostensibly also on behalf of defendant Carolina
Sun Hospitality. (DE 7). On February 7, 2019, plaintiff filed
the instant motion to strike, arguing that defendant Durrani
may not answer for defendant Carolina Sun Hospitality because
he is not a licensed attorney.
12(f) states that the court “may strike from a pleading
an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).
“The purpose of the motion to strike is to avoid the
waste of time and money that arises from litigating
unnecessary issues. The district court possesses considerable
discretion in disposing of a Rule 12(f) motion to
strike.” Godfredson v. JBC Legal Group, P.C.,
387 F.Supp.2d 543, 547 (E.D. N.C. 2005) (internal citations
and quotation marks omitted). However, motions to strike are
“generally viewed with disfavor because striking a
portion of a pleading is a drastic remedy.” Waste
Management Holdings, Inc. v. Gilmore, 252 F.3d 316, 347
(4th Cir.2001) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Furthermore, when considering a motion to strike against a
pro se litigant, the court does not hold her to “the
same stringent standards as attorneys.” Sawver v.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, 417 F.Supp.2d 730, 738
(E.D. N.C. 2006).
all courts of the United States the parties may plead and
conduct their own cases personally or by counsel as, by the
rules of such courts, respectively, are permitted to manage
and conduct causes therein.” 28 U.S.C. § 1654.
“An individual unquestionably has the right to litigate
his own claims in federal court, before both the district and
appellate courts.” Myers v. Loudoun Cty. Pub.
Sch., 418 F.3d 395, 400 (4th Cir. 2005). “The
right to litigate for oneself, however, does not create a
coordinate right to litigate for others.” Id.
(emphasis omitted). The Fourth Circuit has not expressly
addressed the issue of whether a member may appear on behalf
of an LLC under § 1654. However, other circuit courts
have consistently held that corporations, partnerships, or
associations may not appear in federal court “otherwise
than through a licensed attorney.” See Rowland v.
California Men's Colony, Unit II Men's Advisory
Council, 506 U.S. 194, 202-03 (1993) (collecting cases);
Harrison v. Wahatoyas, L.L.C., 253 F.3d 552, 556
(10th Cir. 2001) (“[A] corporation or other business
entity can only appear in court through an attorney and not
through a non-attorney corporate officer appearing pro
se.”). “Accordingly, a limited liability company
can appear in court only through a licensed attorney because
it is a business entity.” Gilley v. Shoffner,
345 F.Supp.2d 563, 566 (M.D. N.C. 2004) (internal citations
Durrani may not act on behalf of defendant Carolina Sun
Hospitality by filing its answer, absent a showing that he is
a licensed attorney able to practice before this court, and
that he has met the procedural requirements for entering an
appearance under this court's local rules. Defendant
Durrani has made no such showing. Consequently,
plaintiff's motion to strike is granted as it pertains to
defendant Carolina Sun Hospitality. However, defendant
Carolina Sun Hospitality is allowed an opportunity to cure
this deficiency by appearing through counsel and filing a
motion or responsive pleading. See Sawver, 417
F.Supp.2d at 738.
on the foregoing, plaintiff's motion to strike (DE 9) is
GRANTED. Defendant Carolina Sun Hospitality is ALLOWED 21
days from the date of service of this order to appear through
counsel and file motion or responsive pleading in this
matter. Plaintiff is DIRECTED to immediately serve a copy of
this order on defendant Carolina Sun Hospitality, and file an
affidavit showing proof of service no later than 14 days from
the date of this order.
 The docket does not show that
defendant Khalid Durrani (“Durrani”) or defendant
Farrah Khalid (“Khalid”) have been ...