from the District Court of Bottineau County, Northeast
Judicial District, the Honorable Anthony S. Benson, Judge.
M. Wendorf, Fargo, N.D., for plaintiff and appellee;
submitted on brief.
Corum, Willow City, N.D., defendant and appellant; submitted
1] Karen Corum appeals from summary judgments entered in two
collection actions commenced by American Express Centurion
Bank. We conclude the district court's summary judgments
were proper as a matter of law and the district court did not
err by denying Corum's request to allow her husband to be
her spokesperson in court. We affirm.
2] American Express Centurion Bank commenced two collection
actions against Karen Corum for two unpaid credit card
accounts. In both cases, American Express moved for summary
judgment. Corum contested the motions and filed a motion to
dismiss in both cases. A hearing was held on January 6, 2017.
The district court indicated in its order that Corum
requested her husband be allowed to speak on her behalf, and
that request was denied. The court granted summary judgment
in favor of American Express in both matters in March 2017.
3] Corum appealed from the district court's summary
judgment in both matters. Corum argues the court denied her
right to counsel by not allowing her husband, a non-party,
non-lawyer, to be her "spokesman" at the hearing.
Corum indicated she is dependent on her husband because she
is not a public speaker and her husband is more knowledgeable
because he controls the family's finances. Corum argues
because she was denied her request to have her husband serve
as her counsel, the inconsistencies in the plaintiff's
affidavit were not pointed out to the court. Corum also
argues the court deprived her husband of his right to free
speech. American Express argues the district court did not
abuse its discretion in conducting the proceedings, and
summary judgments were properly granted as a matter of law.
4] On appeal, Corum again requested her husband be able to
speak on her behalf at oral argument. Upon the denial of that
request, Corum requested her oral argument be waived.
5] Corum appeals the summary judgments entered in two
collection actions commenced by American Express. We conclude
both summary judgments are supported by the record and
summarily affirm under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(6).
6] Corum also argues that her husband should have been
allowed to speak for her during court proceedings. The
district court denied the request for Corum's husband to
speak on her behalf. Corum argues: the district court
violated her right to counsel; she was unable to point out
inconsistencies in American Express' affidavit; and the
district court violated her husband's right to free
7] "Except as otherwise provided by state law or supreme
court rule, a person may not practice law, act as an attorney
or counselor at law in this state, or commence, conduct, or
defend in any court of record of this state, any action or
proceeding in which the person is not a party
concerned." N.D.C.C. § 27-11-01. An unlicensed
person may not act as an attorney for another person in his
or her case, and conducting oneself in court on behalf of