David Boggs, LLC and Mac Mar, LLC sued Matthew Soltis and his company My Affordable Roof, LLC for trademark infringement concerning the mark "MY AFFORDABLE ROOF." Soltis appears to have opted to defend himself. He has submitted a number of filings to the Court captioned as requests for extension of time, motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and answers. He has submitted these filings both on behalf of himself, and on behalf of his corporation.
On plaintiffs' motion, the Court struck the first such filing on behalf of the corporation:
Soltis is not an attorney so cannot represent this entity under Local Rule 2.03(e). (Doc. 16, pp. 1–3.) See Local Rule 2.03(e) (“A corporation may appear and be heard only through counsel admitted to practice in this Court pursuant to Rule 2.01 or Rule 2.02.”); see also Energy Lighting Mgmt., LLC v. Kinder, 363 F. Supp. 2d 1331, 1332 (M.D. Fla. 2005) (applying Local Rule 2.03(e) to limited liability companies).
Undeterred, Soltis tried again, moving for an extension of time on behalf of himself and his corporation to respond to the complaint. The Court again reminded Soltis that a corporation must be represented by counsel:
Defendant Soltis has again filed a Motion on behalf of My Affordable Roof, LLC in violation of the local rules. The Motion filed on behalf of Defendant, My Affordable Roof, LLC is unauthorized.
Soltis then filed a motion to dismiss the complaint as to him, and tried filing an answer on behalf of the Corporation. The Court struck the corporation's answer, and denied Soltis' motion:
On review, the Court finds the Motion is due to be denied. First, the Motion is untimely. Indeed, Soltis’ approach to this case reveals a pattern of disregarding court orders, despite repeated extensions and opportunities for compliance. This latest Motion appears to be another delay tactic, as the Court flatly denied Soltis leave to file it. (See Doc. 22.) Moreover, Soltis’ argument that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction here is meritless. Plaintiffs’ Complaint alleges violations of the Lanham Act based, in part, on Defendants’ engagement in interstate commerce. (E.g., Doc. 1, ¶ 20.) Accepting these allegations as true, subject matter jurisdiction exists here. See Stalley ex rel. U.S. v. Orlando Reg’l Healthcare Sys. Inc., 524 F.3d 1229, 1232–33 (11th Cir. 2008) (announcing standard of review for facial subject matter jurisdiction attacks where the defendant does not use material extrinsic to the pleadings).
Motion to dismiss, granted. Motion to strike corporation's answer, granted. Amended motion for default as to corporation, granted as well.
[Practice pointer -- a corporation may not represent itself in the Middle District of Florida; it must engage counsel.]
David Boggs, LLC v. Soltis, Case No. 6:18-CV-687-ORL-37GJK (M.D. Fla. Oct. 1, 2018) (J. Dalton, Jr.)
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