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Scott N. Johnson v. Shadi Ram

October 20, 2011

SCOTT N. JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHADI RAM, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A ONE STOP MART; AVTAR CHAMBER, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A ONE STOP MART; RAM MARKETS, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER and STATUS (PRETRIAL SCHEDULING) ORDER

READ THIS ORDER CAREFULLY. IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT DATES THAT THE COURT WILL STRICTLY ENFORCE AND WITH WHICH ALL COUNSEL AND PARTIES MUST COMPLY.*fn1 FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF THIS ORDER MAY RESULT IN THE IMPOSITION OF MONETARY AND ALL OTHER SANCTIONS WITHIN THE POWER OF THE COURT, INCLUDING DISMISSAL OR AN ORDER OF JUDGMENT.

On October 20, 2011, this case was before the undersigned for a status (pretrial scheduling) conference. Plaintiff Scott N. Johnson, an attorney, appeared at the conference and represented himself. Defendants Shadi Ram and Avtar Chamber appeared at the conference, along with non-defendant and non-attorney Sunil Chamber, who is Mr. Ram's son and Avtar Chamber's brother. No appearance was entered on behalf of defendant Ram Markets, Inc. Although Shadi Ram, Avtar Chamber, and Sunil Chamber represented that they are the officers of Ram Markets, Inc., a corporation may only appear in federal court through a licensed attorney. See E. Dist. Local Rule 183(a) ("A corporation or other entity may appear only by an attorney."); accord United States v. High Country Broad. Co., 3 F.3d 1244, 1245 (9th Cir. 1993) (per curiam) (stating that "[a] corporation may appear in federal court only through licensed counsel").

Based on the parties' respective status reports and representations at the scheduling conference, the undersigned enters the following order:

NATURE OF CASE

Plaintiff's complaint, filed on May 16, 2011, seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, declaratory relief, retention of jurisdiction, statutory damages, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees. (See Dkt. No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that defendants violated his civil rights by denial of full and equal access to a public accommodation to physically disabled persons.*fn2 He alleges violations of Title III of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., and California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51 et seq.

SERVICE OF PROCESS AND FILING OF ANSWERS

Proper service of process appears to be undisputed. However, not all defendants have appeared in the action.

On July 1, 2011, defendant Shadi Ram filed a letter with the court that appears to have been an attempt to file an answer (Dkt. No. 7). However, that letter does not conform to the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(b). On or before November 10, 2011, Mr. Ram shall file an amended answer with the court that conforms with Rule 8(b), and also indicates whether Mr. Ram wishes to have a jury trial or bench trial in this case.

Until the day of the scheduling conference, defendant Avtar Chamber had not appeared in this action. Plaintiff previously requested that the Clerk of Court enter Mr. Chamber's default, and on October 13, 2011, the Clerk of Court entered Mr. Chamber's default (Dkt. Nos. 11-12). However, at the scheduling conference, and in light of Mr. Chamber's appearance, plaintiff stipulated to the setting aside of the Clerk's entry of default against Mr. Chamber. Accordingly, the Clerk's Certificate of Entry of Default against Mr. Chamber is set aside. On or before November 10, 2011, Mr. Chamber shall file an answer with the court that conforms with Rule 8(b), and also indicates whether Mr. Chamber wishes to have a jury trial or bench trial in this case.

No appearance has been made in this action on behalf of defendant Ram Markets, Inc. At the scheduling conference, plaintiff noted the possibility that the letter filed by Mr. Ram on July 1, 2011, was filed on behalf of both Mr. Ram and Ram Markets, Inc. To the extent that the letter filed by Mr. Ram on July 1, 2011, was filed on behalf of Ram Markets, Inc., it is stricken pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f)(1) because a corporation may appear in federal court only through a licensed attorney. See E. Dist. Local Rule 183(a); accord High Country Broad. Co., 3 F.3d at 1245.

JOINDER OF PARTIES/AMENDMENTS

No further joinder of parties or amendments to pleadings will be permitted except with leave of court and upon a showing of good cause. However, as noted above, Mr. Ram shall file an amended answer no later than November 10, 2011.

JURISDICTION/VENUE

Jurisdiction and venue are undisputed and are hereby found to be proper. See 28 U.S.C. ยง ...


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