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Fundamental Admin. Servs., LLC v. Anderson

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 2, 2014

FUNDAMENTAL ADMIN. SERVS., LLC, Plaintiff
v.
KRISTI ANDERSON, Defendant

Decided May 1, 2014

For Fundamental Administrative Services, LLC, Plaintiff: Linda S Woolf, LEAD ATTORNEY, Cheryl Zak Lardieri, Goodell DeVries Leech and Dann LLP, Baltimore, MD.

For Kristi Anderson, Defendant, ThirdParty Plaintiff, Counter Claimant: Stacey Ann Moffet, LEAD ATTORNEY, Eric Matthew Rigatuso, Eccleston and Wolf PC, Hanover, MD; Steven Neal Leitess, LEAD ATTORNEY, Leitess Friedberg PC, Baltimore, MD.

For Steven N Leitess, Interested Party: Dennis John Quinn, Carr Maloney P.C., Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 681

James K. Bredar, United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

The Court now addresses Defendant Kristi Anderson's motion to amend or alter judgment or alternatively for clarification, as to the Court's memorandum and preliminary injunction (ECF No. 45), and Anderson's supplemental motion for the same purpose (ECF No. 63). The motions have been thoroughly briefed by both Anderson and Plaintiff Fundamental Administrative Services, LLC (" FAS" ) (ECF Nos. 55, 61, 65, 71, 82, 89), and no hearing is required, Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). Anderson's motions will be denied, but the Court will sua sponte supplement its earlier memorandum and preliminary injunction (ECF No. 41) to address the question of security for the preliminary injunction.

Anderson raises three points in her motions: First, she contends the Court did not make the requisite factual findings to support the preliminary injunction; second, she argues the injunction fails to identify specifically the conduct or activity prohibited or required; and third, she alternatively asks the Court to clarify that the requirement for her to return FAS's documents exempts her retention of copies of FAS's documents. None of her contentions has merit.

The Court has reviewed the transcript of the preliminary injunction hearing and its memorandum and preliminary injunction and finds therein ample factual findings to support the preliminary injunction, and it need not repeat them here. Anderson's contention that any factual finding must be written in the injunction order for it to have legal effect is refuted by the Fourth Circuit's decision in CIENA Corp. v. Jarrard,

Page 682

203 F.3d 312, 321 (4th Cir. 2000) ( " the district court's findings of fact and conclusions of law, made on the record, satisfied the Rule 52(a) requirement that such factual findings and legal conclusions be 'set forth'" ). Further, the written order, which expressly incorporated its earlier opinions, does contain factual findings.[1] See id. (" the court stated its findings 'that CIENA will suffer immediate and irreparable injury unless Defendant is temporarily enjoined as set forth in this Order, and that the balance of hardships favors plaintiff, who is likely to prevail on the merits'" ).

Although her contention that the injunction was not supported by factual findings is unmeritorious, the Court considers it appropriate to respond to Anderson's other contentions relating to the first issue of factual findings. Anderson asserts, " The Court refused to hear any evidence or testimony on any issue ...." ( Id. ) Additionally, she says, " Evidence was offered to, and rejected by, the Court on multiple occasions during the hearing." (Def.'s Reply 10, ECF No. 61.) Neither assertion is true. No evidence or testimony was offered at the hearing. What Anderson's counsel did do was to ask the Court if it wanted to hear from Anderson who could state in her own words why she drafted the state court complaint as she did. (10/9/2013 T. 16, 31, 33, ECF No. 55, Ex. A.) It was clear that her lawyer was asking the Court to hear argument from Anderson, not sworn testimony subject to cross-examination. Moreover, the Court's order was not based on why she made the allegations that she did in the state court complaint; regardless of her rationale, the allegations were made in derogation of her ethical duty to maintain FAS's confidences.

Anderson also argues that " many of the alleged disclosures that Plaintiff characterizes as confidential information did not, in fact include confidential information." (Def.'s Mot. Supp. Mem. 5.) The Court found otherwise. The Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct (" MRPC" ) require an attorney to keep confidential not just " privileged" information but also " information relating to the representation of a client." MRPC 1.6(a). Comment 3 to MRPC 1.6 explains the breadth of that duty and the difference between volunteered disclosure and compelled disclosure:

The attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine apply in judicial and other proceedings in which a lawyer may be called as a witness or otherwise required to produce evidence concerning a client. The rule of client-lawyer confidentiality applies in situations other than those where evidence is sought from the lawyer through compulsion of law. The confidentiality rule, for example, applies not only to matters communicated in confidence by the client but also to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source. A ...

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