United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Abilene Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND TO SHOW CAUSE
SCOTT FROST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
February 13, 2017, and through a purported Power of Attorney,
James W. Myart, Jr., signed and filed this action for pro
se Plaintiff Christopher Lynn Hill against various
officials of Sweetwater, Texas. See Compl. at 1, 11.
Attached as an exhibit to the Complaint is the agreement
purporting to appoint Mr. Myart as
"Attorney-in-fact" for Mr. Hill and to grant Mr.
Myart power of attorney to take various actions on Plaintiff
s behalf, including litigation matters. See Ex. 1
¶¶ 2, 6f. That agreement purports to provide for
compensation to Mr. Myart as a "consultant, "
permit co-owning and mingling of assets, and permit Mr. Myart
to personally gain from management of Mr. Hill's affairs.
See Id. ¶¶ 7-9. Through the Power of
Attorney, Mr. Myart also signed an Application to Proceed in
District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (doc. 3)
(hereinafter "IFP Motion") on behalf of Plaintiff.
purposes of this order, the Court will assume without
deciding that Plaintiff has entered into a valid agreement
granting Mr. Myart power of attorney. Even with that
assumption, however, Mr. Myart is not authorized to represent
Plaintiff or any other pro se party in federal
court. By statute, a federal litigant "may plead and
conduct their own cases personally or by counsel."
See 28 U.S.C. § 1654. Based on all information
before the Court, Mr. Myart is no longer an attorney
authorized to practice law in Texas or elsewhere. "Mr.
Myart was a practicing attorney for many years before
surrendering his bar card in lieu of disbarment in
2008." Myartv. Taylor, -No. 5:16-CV- 736-DAE,
2016 WL 5376227, at *1 n.l (W.D. Tex. Sept. 26, 2016);
accord Myart v. Glosson, No. 5:16-CV-865-XR, 2016 WL
5389248, at *1 n.l (W.D. Tex. Sept. 26, 2016) ("Myart
used to be a licensed attorney, but has since resigned in
lieu of disciplinary action.").
on June 17, 2008, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted Mr.
Myart's resignation as attorney and counselor at law as
"in the best interest of the public and the
profession." See In re Myart, Misc.
Docket No. 08-9072, at 1 (Tex. June 17, 2008). In addition to
cancelling Mr. Myart's law licence and deleting him
"from the list of persons licensed to practice law in
Texas, " the Texas Supreme Court permanently enjoined
him from practicing law in the State of Texas, holding
himself out as an attorney at law, performing legal services
for others, giving legal advice to others, accepting any fee
directly or indirectly for legal services, appearing as
counsel or in any representative capacity in any proceeding
in any Texas court or before any Texas administrative body
(whether state, county, municipal, or other), or holding
himself out to others or using his name in any manner in
conjunction with the words "Attorney at Law, "
"Counselor at Law, " "Lawyer, " or
Id. at 1-2.
unlicensed, former attorney, Mr. Myart may not represent
Plaintiff in this action. Section 1654 does not permit a
non-attorney to represent a litigant in federal court and
even a valid power of attorney does not permit it.
Williams v. United States, 477App'x 9, 11 (3d
Cir. 2012) (per curiam). While a power of attorney "may
confer certain decision-making authority under state law,
" it does not change the requirements of § 1654.
See id.; accord Speed v. Bank of N. Y., No.
3:14-CV-3425-L-BN, 2014 WL 6473420, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 18,
2014) (recommendation of Mag. J.), case dismissed without
addressing recommendation, 2014 WL 6487291 (N.D. Tex.
Nov. 19, 2014) (declining to address recommendation while
recognizing its correctness). "[T]he holder of a power
of attorney is not authorized to appear pro se on behalf of
the grantor." Estate of Keatinge v. Biddle, 316
F.3d 7, 14 (1st Cir. 2002) (recognizing such principle under
the laws of Maine). To proceed "pro se means to
appear for one's self, " therefore, "a person
may not appear on another person's behalf in the
other's cause." Iannaccone v. Law, 142 F.3d
553, 558 (2d Cir. 1998) (cited with approval in Martin v.
City of Alexandria, 198 F.App'x 344, 346 (5th Cir.
2006) (per curiam)). "A power of attorney relationship
between a pro se plaintiff and the individual
appearing on [his or] her behalf does not alter this
principle." Leyfert v. Commw. of Pa. House of Reps.,
-Ho. Civ. A. 05-4700, 2005 WL 3433995, at *3 (E.D. Pa.
2005). Similarly, an "attorney-in-fact" may not
litigate a pro se action on behalf of another.
Powerserve Int'l, Inc. v. Lavi, 239
F.3d 508, 514 (2d Cir. 2001).
some circumstances may warrant filing on another's behalf
as a "next friend, " "individuals not licensed
to practice law by the state may not use the 'next
friend' device as an artifice for the unauthorized
practice of law." Weber v. Garza, 570 F.2d 511,
514 (5th Cir. 1978). Nothing before the Court indicates that
use of the "next friend" device is proper in this
case. When a non-attorney is not qualified to act as a
"next friend, " the non-attorney "may not
participate in the unauthorized practice of law by preparing
legal papers, filing petitions and briefs, and generally
acting as an attorney in violation of state and federal
provisions governing the unauthorized practice of law."
Id. Even a valid power of attorney executed by
the pro se Plaintiff does not invest the
non-attorney with such authority. Id.
non-attorney, Mr. Myart "lacks standing to file this
action on behalf of Plaintiff. See Leyfert, 2005 WL
3433995, at *3. Accordingly, this Court lacks jurisdiction
over this case and it is subject to dismissal. See
Id. However, from the information before the Court, it
appears that Mr. Hill has simply placed his trust in Mr
Myart. Nothing indicates that Mr. Hill recognizes Mr.
Myart's inability to act as anyone's legal attorney
or that the granted Power of Attorney - even assuming its
legal validity - does not grant Mr. Myart the ability to
proceed with this case on behalf of a pro se
litigant. The Court thus finds that an outright dismissal at
this stage of the litigation is not warranted without
providing Mr. Hill an opportunity to cure the deficiencies of
his complaint and the submitted IFP Motion.
light of the facts and circumstances of this case, the Court
considers whether Plaintiff or Mr. Myart have engaged in
sanctionable conduct. The federal courts possess the inherent
power "to protect the efficient and orderly
administration of justice and... to command respect for the
court's orders, judgments, procedures, and
authority." In re Stone, 986 F.2d 898, 902 (5th
Cir.1993). Within this inherent power is "the power to
levy sanctions in response to abusive litigation
practices." Id. The Supreme Court, furthermore,
has recognized "that a federal court has the power to
control admission to its bar and to discipline attorneys who
appear before it." Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501
U.S. 32, 43 (1991). This power naturally extends to
sanctioning parties who proceed without counsel as well as a
former attorney who purports to act pursuant to a power of
point, the Court finds no potentially sanctionable conduct by
the pro se litigant in this matter, Christopher
Hill, but is greatly disturbed by the actions of Mr. Myart.
It is not unreasonable to expect a former attorney to know
and understand the law regarding filing a civil action and
practicing law before this Court. Mr. Myart's actions are
particularly troubling given the injunction imposed against
him by the Supreme Court of Texas. Among other things, that
injunction specifically forbids Mr. Myart from practicing law
in Texas, providing legal services for others, giving legal
advice to others, accepting any fee for legal services, or
appearing in a representative capacity in any proceeding in
any Texas court. At least arguably, his actions in this case
violate that injunction and he cannot sidestep the injunction
by claiming he acts only as a consultant. 
Texas, an individual can be criminally prosecuted for the
unauthorized practice of law.
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 38.123. Texas law, furthermore,
defines "practice of law" as
the preparation of a pleading or other document incident to
an action or special proceeding or the management of the
action or proceeding on behalf of a client before a judge in
court as well as a service rendered out of court, including
the giving of advice or the rendering of any service
requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as
preparing a will, contract, or other instrument, the ...