The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld a judge's appointment of a receiver to do something about the fire-ravaged, rat-infested three decker at 97 Mt. Ida Rd. that its owner, James Dickey of Sudbury, has refused to clean up since it burned in a fire in 2011.
Dickey lost in part because he refused to hire a lawyer to represent the limited liability company he set up to own what's left of a house, for which a Housing Court judge appointed a receiver, who has hired contractors to clean out the property, including removing hundreds of cat-food cans - and now trying to sell it. Although individuals can represent themselves in court - as Dickey has done in numerous lawsuits in both state and federal court over both this issue and a failed suit against the NFL - they cannot, at least in state court, represent LLCs that they own.
It is well settled under Massachusetts law that, with one very limited exception not applicable here, "corporations must appear and be represented in court, if at all, by attorneys." Varney Enters., Inc. v. WMF, Inc., 402 Mass. 79, 82 (1988). ...
This is appropriate because Massachusetts limited liability companies, like Massachusetts business corporations, are legal entities with the rights to sue and be sued separate and apart from their shareholdersa nd members. See G. L. c. 156C, § 55. Also, as the name implies, limited liability companies limit the liability of their members, similarly to corporations with respect to corporate shareholders.
Dickey was actually appealing a ruling by a single SJC justice last fall upholding a decision by a Housing Court judge to keep the receiver on the job after rejecting Dickey's allegations the receiver has done questionable things in the past.
Before taking up the receiver's actions, Dickey had repeatedly filed suits claiming ISD and Housing Court judges were out to get him as part of a conspiracy to steal property from black homeowners in Dorchester - claims courts have just as repeatedly rejected, in part because Dickey is white.