UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
April 19, 2012
AMERANTH, INC., PLAINTIFF,
PIZZA HUT, INC.; PIZZA HUT OF AMERICA, INC.; DOMINO'S PIZZA, LLC; DOMINO'S PIZZA, INC.; PAPA JOHN'S USA, INC.; OPENTABLE, INC.; GRUBHUB, INC.; TICKETMOB, LLC; EXIT 41, LLC; QUIKORDER, INC.; SEAMLESS NORTH AMERICA, LLC; OWEB TECHNOLOGIES LTD, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. SammartinoUnited States District Judge
ORDER: DENYING DEFENSE COUNSEL'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW (ECF No. 138)
On January 27, 2012, Daniel A. Lawton, counsel for Defendant Exit41, Inc., filed a motion to withdraw as counsel of record (ECF No. 138), to which no party has objected. Mr. Lawton provided his client a copy of this motion, and declares that his client consents to his withdrawal. (Lawton Decl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 138-2.) Mr. Lawton does not articulate his reasons for withdrawal, merely stating that several bases listed in California Rule of Court 3-700 exist here. (Id. at ¶ 2.) Mr. Lawton is the sole attorney of record for Defendant Exit41. As a corporation, Exit41 may participate in this action only through an attorney. Rowland v. California Men's Colony, 506 U.S. 195, 201-02 (1993) ("It has been the law for the better part of two centuries . . . that a corporation may appear in the federal courts only through licensed counsel.") Further, Defendant will retain all the obligations of a litigant even if not represented by counsel, and its failure to appoint an attorney may lead to adverse results, such as the entry of default against it.*fn1 Thus, the Court declines to grant Mr. Lawton's request for leave to withdraw without ensuring Defendant Exit41 has as an opportunity to obtain substitute counsel, as well as notice that failure to take action may result in serious legal consequences. See 7A C.J.S. Attorney & Client § 269 (2011); Urethane Foam Experts, Inc. v. Latimer, 31 Cal. App. 4th 763, 406 (1995) (finding the trial court erred in allowing counsel of record to withdraw without advising corporate defendant of the consequences of failure to obtain new counsel).
Accordingly, Mr. Lawton's motion is DENIED at this time. He may renew the motion after serving a copy of this Order on his client, Defendant Exit41, and filing proof of such service with the Court, along with a declaration explaining what action Defendant Exit41 has taken in securing counsel and proceeding in its defense in this case.
IT IS SO ORDERED.