United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. CRABTREE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on several motions filed by
non-parties. On January 25, 2019, the court held a hearing on
some of the pending motions in this case. See Doc.
178. Since then, several non-parties have filed motions. The
court addresses the motions, all filed by non-parties, in
this following fashion: (1) non-party Ephraim Woods's
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 124); (2) Mr. Woods's second
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 197); (3) Mr. Woods's Motion to
Strike (Doc. 201); (4) non-party Dana Peach's Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 133); (5) Ms. Peach's Motion to Vacate
(Doc. 183); (6) non-party Marvin McIntosh's Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 135); (7) non-party Griegory Moten's Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 137); (8) Mr. Moten's Motion to Vacate
(Doc. 182); (9) non-party Irma Dorsey's Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 198); and (10) Ms. Dorsey's Motion to Strike (Doc.
Motions to Dismiss and Motions to Vacate (Docs. 124, 133,
135, 137, 182, 183, 197, & 198)
the movants have moved to dismiss this action, and Mr. Moten
and Ms. Peach have asked the court to vacate the judgment.
Docs. 124, 133, 135, 137, 182, 183, 197, & 198. But, none
of the movants is a party in this case. In all eight motions
seeking to dismiss or vacate, each movant has added his or
her name to the case caption as if that made the movant party
to this action. As the court has explained several times
before, word processing sleight of hand is no substitute for
complying with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Those
rules do not authorize strangers to the action to insert
themselves as parties simply by making a filing that says
it's so. Plaintiff has asserted no claims against them,
and the court has entered no judgment against them. The court
thus denies the Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 124, 133, 135, 137,
197, & 198) and Motions to Vacate (Docs. 182 & 183)
filed by the non-party movants named above.
Motions to Strike (Docs. 201, 202)
two movants ask the court to strike plaintiff's
Opposition in Response (Doc. 200) to a motion filed by Mr.
Woods titled, “Motion for Objection to Default Motion
Under Rule 55” (Doc. 195). Docs. 201, 202. The
non-parties who filed these motions-Mr. Moten and Ms.
Dorsey-appear to seek relief on behalf of themselves, as
non-parties, and other named defendants. Doc. 201 at 2; Doc.
202 at 2. The named defendants include several business
organizations. But, neither movant is admitted to practice as
a member of this court's bar. This poses two problems.
in federal court, only an attorney admitted as a member of
this court's bar may represent a business
organization. Harrison v. Wahatoyas, L.L.C., 253
F.3d 552, 556 (10th Cir. 2001) (citing Flora Constr. Co.
v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 307 F.2d 413, 414 (10th
Cir. 1962) (“The rule is well established that a
corporation can appear in a court of record only by an
attorney at law.”)); Tal v. Hogan, 453 F.3d
1244, 1254 n.8 (10th Cir. 2006) (collecting cases). Because
neither Mr. Woods nor Ms. Dorsey are admitted to practice
before our court, neither of them can seek relief for the
corporate defendants in this case. Second, and to the extent
that Mr. Woods and Ms. Dorsey seek relief for individuals,
they have the same problem. “Non-attorney pro se
litigants cannot represent other pro se parties.”
Perry v. Stout, No. 00-2411, 2001 WL 1158997, at *1
(10th Cir. Sept. 28, 2001) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1654
(“parties may plead and conduct their own cases
personally or by counsel”)). The docket reflects that
no attorney admitted to practice before this court has
entered an appearance on behalf of defendant Royall Jenkins,
the only individual defendant in this case. So, neither Mr.
Woods nor Ms. Dorsey may file motions on behalf of Mr.
Jenkins or otherwise purport to represent him. Thus, the
court liberally construes their motions as requests made on
their own behalf.
considering the parties' motions, the court is guided by
the standard governing the right of access to judicial
records because Mr. Woods and Ms. Dorsey's motions seek
to strike a public filing from this case's docket. The
Supreme Court recognizes the “general right to inspect
and copy public records and documents, including judicial
records and documents.” Nixon v. Warner
Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S 589, 597 (1978) (citations
omitted). But, this right is not an absolute one.
Id. at 598. For example, a court may invoke its
“supervisory power over its own records and
files” to deny access to “court files [that]
might have become a vehicle for improper purposes.”
Id. (citations omitted). A party may rebut the
presumption of access to judicial records by demonstrating
that “countervailing interests heavily outweigh the
public interests in access.” Mann v.
Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140, 1149 (10th Cir. 2007)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The party
seeking to deny access must shoulder the burden to establish
a sufficiently significant interest that outweighs the
presumption of public access. Id. (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted).
legal standard thus requires federal courts to assess
competing interests, weighing those interests that favor the
general right of public access and those that genuinely
deserve some protection. When engaging in this endeavor, the
case authority confers substantial discretion on district
judges. See, e.g., Nixon, 435 U.S. at 599;
see also Mann, 477 F.3d at 1149. Judges must utilize
this discretion “in light of the relevant facts and
circumstances of the particular case.” Nixon,
435 U.S. at 599.
Woods and Ms. Dorsey's motions are identical-both argue
that they are being targeted and threatened by subpoenas and
that they have suffered personal and business consequences
because of this suit. Mr. Woods and Ms. Dorsey also object to
plaintiff's counsel Gillian Chadwick's activities in
the case. Finally, Mr. Woods and Ms. Dorsey challenge the
merits of plaintiff's action. But, neither movant
explains why the court should strike plaintiff's response
to Mr. Woods's earlier filing. Because neither Mr. Woods
nor Ms. Dorsey has carried the burden to rebut the
presumption of public access to court records, the court
denies their Motions to Strike (Docs. 201 & 202).
reasons explained above, the court denies all the
non-parties' motions discussed in this Order.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT movant
Ephraim Woods's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 124) is denied.
IS FURTHER ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT movant Ephraim
Woods's Motion ...