NO LAWYER NO CLASS: Court Holds a Pro Se Litigant Cannot Represent a Class And It is a Good Reminder

As TCPAWorld readers know, TCPA case filings are way WAY up this year. The statute is back in vogue and causing headaches.

An interesting phenomenon this year, however, is that many of these cases are being filed by individuals without a lawyer–spurred on ,perhaps, by the legion YouTube channels and Facebook forums discussing how to sue robocalls and strike it rich (or buy bars at least.)

But when a party without a lawyer brings suit as a putative class action, she or he goes too far– that according to the Court in Williams v. Solar, 2023 WL 4931853 (E.D. La. Aug. 2, 2023.)

In Williams the Plaintiff sued as an individual with no lawyer but hoped to represent a class of individuals similar to himself. The Court was not having it:

A pro se plaintiff acting as a class representative would be tasked with the dual role of class representative and class counsel. “In all courts of the United States the parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively, are permitted to manage and conduct causes therein.” 28 U.S.C. § 1654. While § 1654 authorizes individuals to appear pro se, it does not allow an unlicensed person to represent anyone other than himself. Indeed, the Fifth Circuit has made clear that individuals who do not have a law license may not represent others in federal court.

So there you go. An individual can sue under the TCPA without a lawyer, but she or he cannot bring a class action.

Keep it in mind.


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