(a) Appearances. The parties to any action in which a hearing has been requested shall appear in person, unless otherwise authorized by the court, and may be represented by a lawyer admitted to practice law before the courts of this state.
(b) Legal Entities. A legal entity may be represented in a small claims court action by the following persons who have been authorized to act on its behalf:
(1) an officer;
(2) a person holding an ownership interest;
(3) a director or other member of the governing board;
(4) a trustee; or
(5) an employee.
Rule 10.2 was adopted, effective June 1, 2006.
Subdivision (a) applies to actions in which a hearing has been requested. Under N.D.C.C.§ 27-08.1-02, if the court has not received a request for hearing within 20 days of filing of the claim, the matter proceeds by default.
Subdivision (b) allows certain authorized persons to represent a legal entity in small claims court. A legal entity is a body, other than a natural person, that can function legally, sue or be sued, and make decisions through authorized representatives. Examples of legal entities are corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and political subdivisions.
Under N.D.C.C.§ 27-08.1-01 (3), a claim may not be filed in small claims court by an assignee of the claim, including owners or employees of collection agencies.
SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of April 27-28, 2006, page 10; January 26, 2006, pages 13-17.
CONSIDERED: N.D.C.C. ch. 27-08.1.