TCPA QUICK HITTER: Attorney Proceeding In Forma Pauperis Cannot Represent TCPA Class

Quick one for you.

So let’s say you’re broke but want to file a lawsuit. There’s a way to do that in federal court called proceeding in forma pauperis. It involves filling out a bunch of forms and demonstrating a lack of income. But if you go through the hoops then you can file with little or no fees.

That’s all well and good, but let’s say you’re a broke attorney who wants to serve as a class representative in a TCPA case you’re bringing but still need in forma pauperis assistance from the Court?

Not allowed. So says the court in ROBERT DOYLE  v. ARETE FINANCIAL GROUP LLC, 2022 WL 1505008 (D. NJ. May 12, 2022).

There the court held a broke lawyer–Mr. Doyle–was not an “adequate” class representative partially because he lacked the “financial wherewithal to undertake this matter in light of the fact he is proceeding in forma pauperis.”

The Court also determined that Doyle did not otherwise demonstrate he had the necessary experience and qualifications to represent the class in complex litigation.

So the Court dismissed the case and told Doyle he could not re-file the case as a class action: “Plaintiff continues pro se, the amended complaint must be brought on behalf of Plaintiff individually and not on behalf of a putative class.”

Interesting, no?


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