United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
continued dispute between Plaintiff Jane Dern. her former
attorney Thomas McManus. and Defendant Liberty Mutual
Insurance Company ("Liberty") relates to Plaintiffs
insurance claim for damage to her home following a fire on
May 22. 2014. The parties entered into a settlement agreement
on October 7. 2016. and the Court closed the case thereafter.
ECF No. 35. Now pending before the Court is McManus"
Motion to Revise the Order. HCF No. 50. Plaintiffs Motion in
Opposition to the Settlement Agreement ECF No. 52. and
Plaintiffs Motion for Trial. ECF No. 54. No
hearing is necessary. See Lac, R. 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the following reasons. McManus' motion is
granted and Plaintiffs motions are denied.
execution of the settlement agreement on October 7. 2016.
whereby Defendant agreed to pay Plaintiff $150, 000 for her
insurance claim, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs Amended
Complaint. ECF No. 23. and provided that "[t]his Court
has been advised by the parties that the above action has
been settled .... The entry of this Order is without
prejudice to the right of a party to move for good cause
within 30 days to reopen this action if settlement is not
consummated." 1XT No. 35. During the settlement
conference, the parties signed a term sheet setting forth the
material terms of the settlement agreement in advance of
Defendant preparing the formal terms of the agreement. ECF
No. 41-1 at 2-5 (Initial Settlement Agreement). Following
the settlement conference, the final settlement agreement was
codified in the Confidential Settlement and Release
Agreement. ECF No. 41-2. but the agreement has not been
executed. On October 21. and again on October 27 and November
9. Plaintiff requested to withdraw from the settlement
agreement, alleging that her attorney. McManus. failed to
adequately represent her interests during the settlement
conference. ECF Nos. 36. 39, 43.
22. 2017. the Court upheld the settlement agreement, denying
Plaintiffs motion to reopen the action. ECF No. 44. granting
Defendant's motion to enforce the settlement agreement.
ECF No. 41. and granting McManus' motion to withdraw as
counsel. V.CY No. 40. See ECF No.
Ultimately, the Court found that the parties reached a
complete agreement with readily ascertainable terms and that
Plaintiff had not shown good cause to reopen the case. ECF
No. 48 at 3. and ordered the parties to execute the
settlement agreement. ECF No. 49.
alleges that following the Court's Order. Plaintiff
informed him that she would not execute the Confidential
Settlement and Release Agreement or endorse the settlement
cheek if tendered by Defendant. ECF No. 50-1: see
also ECF No. 53 ¶ 2 (Defendant stating that it
provided McManus a copy of the settlement check drawn in
accordance with the settlement agreement). As a result.
McManus filed a Notice of Lien against Plaintiff for Si
2.897.49-his purported fee for representation of Plaintiff in
this matter. BCF No. 50 ¶ 4.
Plaintiff has not executed the settlement agreement. McManus
requests the Court to order Plaintiff to either sign and
comply with the agreement or direct Defendant to revise the
settlement agreement by providing McManus with his fee
directly and remitting the balance to Plaintiff. ECF No. 50
at 2. In response. Plaintiff asserts that she
was unethically coerced into signing the settlement
agreement, alleging that McManus failed to present the
information necessary to support her insurance claim and that
defendant made material misrepresentations during the
settlement negotiations. ECF Nos. 52. 54. Plaintiff further
suggests that she intended to attach to her motion a copy of
her insurance policy, engineering reports, and correspondence
from "the County" to support her assertion but
that, on review, she no longer has these documents in her
possession. ECF No. 54.
motions request the Court to revisit its May 22. 201 7 Order
upholding the settlement agreement. While Plaintiff does not
set forth the specific procedural basis for her request.
Plaintiff h pro se, and her tilings are liberally
construed. Erickson v. Pan/us. 551 U.S. 89. 94
(2007). Therefore, the Court will consider Plaintiffs request
under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59 and 60. First,
under Rule 59. a Court may grant a motion to alter or amend
the judgment if filed within 28 days of the underlying
judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Because
Plaintiff filed her motions more than 28 days after the
Court's May 22 Order. Rule 59 is not viable at this time.
See FCF No. 52 (tiled on July 12. 2017).
Court may also provide relief from a judgment or order
pursuant to Rule 60(b) for six enumerated reasons. Relevant
to plaintiffs allegations, the Court may provide relief for
fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6O(b)(3). And unlike Rule 59. a
motion under Rule 60(b) must be made within a reasonable
time. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6O(c)(1) (noting that a
motion for reasons of fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct
must be made within one year of entry of judgment). However.
Plaintiff has not provided the Court with any additional
information suggesting relief is warranted.
pending motions revisit her prior concerns and are limited to
broad and conclusory statements that she received inadequate
representation that tainted the settlement negotiations.
While Plaintiff makes reference to a number of documents
related to her claim. Plaintiff fails to allege what facts
are contained in these documents, how the facts were ignored
or misrepresented during the settlement negotiations, and how
such misrepresentations induced her to sign the initial
settlement agreement on October 7. 2016. Nor has Plaintiff
indicated that the Confidential Settlement and Release
Agreement conflicts with the agreed upon terms of the initial
settlement agreement. The Court has revisited Plaintiffs
prior communications contesting the settlement agreement in
advance of the Court's May 22. 2017 Order, see
e.g.. ECF Nos. 36, 39. 43. 47 and, without more, the
Court has no basis to conclude that the settlement agreement
should be disturbed now. Therefore. Plaintiff shall comply with
the terms of the Court's May 22. 2017 Order and execute
the Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement.
foregoing reasons. McManus" Motion to Revise. ECF No.
50. shall he granted and Plaintiffs motions. ECF Nos. 52, 54,