United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. Grimm United States District Judge
February 2014, the Housing Authority of Prince George's
County terminated Plaintiff Ronald Hayward's rental
assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly
known as Section 8) after the District Court for Prince
George's County evicted him from a subsidized apartment
for violating the terms of his lease. Mem. Op. 1, ECF No. 24.
Hayward filed suit, alleging that the termination violated
his Fourteenth Amendment rights and Department of Housing and
Urban Development (“HUD”) regulations. Compl. 3,
ECF No. 3. At Hayward's request, I appointed pro bono
counsel to represent him. ECF Nos. 16, 17. In a Memorandum
Opinion and Order issued on September 20, 2016, I denied
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment in part and
granted it in part, finding that a genuine dispute of
material fact existed as to whether the Housing Authority
held a pretermination hearing as required by the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause and HUD regulations. Mem.
Op. 9-13. Shortly thereafter, the Parties requested a
settlement conference before a magistrate judge, ECF No. 36.
States Magistrate Judge Timothy Sullivan held a settlement
conference on March 23, 2017, ECF No. 49, and, at its
conclusion, informed me that the parties had reached a
settlement. Accordingly, I issued a Local Rule 111 Order
dismissing the case. ECF No. 48. Three weeks later, Hayward
filed a pro se appeal with the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit,  ECF No. 50, and a Motion to Reopen the
case in this Court, in which he argues that the settlement
agreement lacks legal force because it vitiated any claims
that Hayward might have against the Housing Authority, which
was not a named defendant, and because it
“discriminate[s]” against other Housing Choice
Voucher Program recipients by placing him at the top of the
waiting list for a subsidized apartment, Mot. to Reopen 2, 4,
ECF No. 53. Hayward's pro bono counsel, Jonathan Barnes,
filed a Motion to Withdraw, ECF No. 54, which I granted, ECF
No. 58. I ordered the Parties to file letter briefing
addressing the Motion, ECF No. 60, which they did, Defs. Ltr.
Opp'n, ECF No. 61; Pl.'s Ltr. Reply, ECF No. 62.
Based on the substance of the Defendants' response, I
will construe their Letter as a Motion to Enforce the
Settlement Agreement and grant it because there is undisputed
evidence of a complete agreement with readily ascertainable
enforce a settlement agreement under its inherent equity
power, [a] district court ‘(1) must find that the
parties reached a complete agreement and (2) must be able to
determine its terms and conditions.' ” Swift v.
Frontier Airlines, Inc., 636 F. App'x 153, 154-55
(4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam). Under Maryland law,
“[s]ettlement agreements are enforceable as independent
contracts, subject to the same general rules of construction
that apply to other contracts.” Maslow v.
Vanguri, 896 A.2d 408, 419 (2006) (Md. Ct. Spec. App.
2006). To rule on a motion to enforce a settlement agreement,
a court need not hold an evidentiary hearing, unless
“substantial factual dispute over either the
agreement's existence or its terms” exists.
Swift, 636 F. App'x at 156.
March 23 settlement conference, the Housing Authority agreed
to issue Hayward a new voucher and to pay him a sum of $5,
000 if he agreed to release his legal claims against the
Housing Authority, and the Parties memorialized the
Agreement's essential terms in a writing signed by
Hayward, the Defendants' representatives, and Judge
Sullivan. Defs.' Ltr. Opp'n Ex. 1, at 1, ECF No.
61-1. Hayward also signed a notarized Release
that contains the Agreement's essential terms, which
Barnes witnessed. Id. at 2-6. The notarized Release
is a self-authenticating document, see Fed. R. Evid.
902(8), and Hayward does not dispute its authenticity. As the
Release provides undisputed evidence of offer, agreement, and
mutual consideration, I find that an enforceable contract
exists. The terms of the agreement are clear, requiring
Hayward to release his legal claims against the Housing
Authority and its officers in exchange for receiving a new
voucher and a $5, 000 payment. Defs.' Ltr. Opp'n Ex.
1, at 3-4. It is too late for Hayward to protest the terms of
settlement to which he agreed. No hearing is necessary
because Hayward does not dispute the existence or terms of
for the reasons stated, it is this 16th
day of May, 2017, hereby ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen, ECF No. 53, IS DENIED;
2. The Settlement Agreement entered by the Parties on March
23, 2017, SHALL BE ENFORCED;
3. Plaintiff may continue to pursue his appeal, see
ECF No. 50, before the United States Court of Appeals for the
 The Federal Rules of Appellate
Procedure permit a party to file a timely Rule 59 motion-
which Hayward's Motion to Reopen can be characterized
as-even after filing a notice of appeal. Fed. R. App. Proc.
4(a)(4)(B)(i) (“If a party files a notice of appeal
after the court announces or enters a judgement-but before it
disposes of any motion listed in Rule 4(a)(4)(A)
[e.g., a Rule 59 motion]-the notice becomes
effective to appeal a judgment or order, in whole or in part,
when the order disposing of the last such remaining motion is
entered.”); see also Griggs v. Provident Consumer
Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 59-60 (1982). A party may file a
Rule 59 motion within 28 days of entry of the judgment that
is the subject of the motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(b). The Local
Rule 111 Order, which dismissed the case, was entered on
March 23, 2017. ECF No. 48. Hayward filed his Motion twenty
days later on April 12, 2017. Pl.'s Mot. Consequently,
Hayward made a timely Rule 59 motion over which the Court
retains jurisdiction despite the fact that he filed a Notice
of Appeal that same day.
 I do so pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 1,
which instructs that the Rules “should be construed and
administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive
determination of ...