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Vaeth v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore City

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 24, 2019

BRIAN CHARLES VAETH Plaintiff,
v.
MAYOR & CITY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE CITY, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Brian Charles Vaeth, who is self represented, has filed a 39-page Complaint titled “Independent Action To Assess Whether The United States District Court Has Been A Victim Of Fraud On The Court.” ECF 1. He has named as defendants the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore (the “City”) and the Fire & Police Employees' Retirement System of Baltimore (“F&PRS”). Several exhibits are appended to the suit. ECF 1-1 to ECF 1-7.[1]

         Since 2003, Vaeth has filed several suits and appeals related to the denial of his disability benefits by F&PRS in 2002. These include the following: Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, RDB-08-0708, 2016 WL 775386, at *1 (D. Md. Feb. 29, 2016); Vaeth v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore City, WDQ-11-0182, 2011 WL 4711904, (D. Md. Oct. 4, 2011), aff'd, 471 Fed.Appx. 124 (4th Cir. 2012); Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, Fire & Police Employees Ret. Sys. of Baltimore City, RDB-08-708, 2009 WL 2487076, (D. Md. Aug. 11, 2009), aff'd, 402 Fed.Appx. 786 (4th Cir. 2010); Vaeth v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, No. 24-C07009752 (Cir. Ct. Balt. City, December 13, 2007); Vaeth v. Fire & Police Employees Ret. Sys. of Baltimore City, No. 24-C03007014 (Cir. Ct. Balt. City, Sept. 29, 2003); see also Vaeth v. Fire & Police Employees Ret. Sys. of Baltimore City, No. 24-C00005120 (Cir. Ct. Balt. City, Oct. 16, 2000). In this case, Vaeth maintains that, in the course of the prior litigation, defendants engaged in fraud on the court.

         Defendants moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) (ECF 18), supported by a memorandum (ECF 18-1) (collectively, the “Motion”) and several exhibits. See ECF 18-2 to ECF 18-7. They maintain that plaintiff's suit fails under the doctrine of res judicata and for failure to state a claim. ECF 18-1 at 6-9. Plaintiff opposes the Motion (ECF 20), and defendants have replied. ECF 23.

         Plaintiff has also filed several motions. These are as follows: “Motion For Discovery” (ECF 26); “Motion For Leave To Update The Court” (ECF 30); “Motion For Leave To Update The Court With Information Relevant To This Action” (ECF 31); “Motion for Leave” (ECF 34). However, because I conclude that dismissal is warranted, I shall not consider them.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rules 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, I shall grant the Motion.

         I. Factual Background [2]

         The facts of plaintiff's 39-page, 117 paragraph Complaint have largely been described in prior opinions. Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, RDB-08-0708, 2016 WL 775386; Vaeth v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore City, WDQ-11-0182, 2011 WL 4711904; Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, RDB-08-708, 2009 WL 2487076; Vaeth v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, No. 24-C07009752; Fire & Police Employees Ret. Sys. of Baltimore City, No. 24-C03007014. Accordingly, I shall provide only the essential elements of the Complaint.

         Vaeth is a former employee of the Baltimore City Fire Department, where he worked as a firefighter. ECF 1, ¶ 17. In 1996, he suffered an on-the-job spinal injury. Id. ¶ 18. Although he recovered, he reinjured his spine in March 1999. Id. ¶ 19. As a result of this injury, the City determined that Vaeth was unable to perform his duties as a fireman and directed him to seek retirement benefits from the F&PERS. Id. ¶¶ 19-20. Plaintiff alleges that he was denied “Line of Duty Disability Benefits” but was awarded “Ordinary Retirement Benefits.” Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff alleges that he appealed and was reinstated to his position. Id. ¶¶ 22-23.

         On June 28, 2002, plaintiff suffered another injury and was subsequently ordered to seek disability benefits again. Id. ¶ 24. He sought benefits, but his request was denied in 2003, after it was determined that his disability did not result from his duties. Id. ¶¶ 28-29.

         As noted, since that time, plaintiff has proceeded with multiple suits and appeals. Of significance here, in Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, RDB-08-708, 2009 WL 2487076, plaintiff lodged several claims, contesting the denial of his disability benefits. On August 11, 2009, Judge Richard D. Bennett granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's suit. Id.

         Six years after plaintiff's appeal failed, Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, 402 Fed.Appx. 786 (4th Cir. 2010), plaintiff moved to re-open and relitigate the case by claiming fraud on the court, pursuant to a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(d)(3). He alleged that a “fraudulent affidavit submitted by Assistant City Solicitor Sabrina Willis, completed by Assistant Chief Devilbiss, Jr., was fraudulent and, more importantly, accommodated by the willingness of Baltimore City Solicitor George Nilson to allow that fraud to thoroughly invade this proceeding and support their effort to prevail against Plaintiff.” See Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, RDB-08-0708, ECF 71-1 at 3.[3]

         Further, plaintiff claimed, inter alia, that: (1) the City Solicitor improperly concealed plaintiff's employment file, id. at 4; (2) the hearing examiner was biased, id. at 7; (3) City officials allegedly told former Fire Department Chief William Goodwin to terminate plaintiff's employment, id. at 8; and (4) the City Solicitor's Office falsely claimed that plaintiff was not motivated to pursue administrative remedies. Id. at 8. However, Judge Bennett concluded that plaintiff's allegations were in “no way connect[ed] . . . to a degradation of this Court's integrity” and therefore dismissed the Rule 60 motion. Vaeth v. Bd. of Trustees, RDB-08-0708, 2016 WL 775386, at *2.

         In the case sub judice, plaintiff again alleges that defendants committed fraud on the Court in connection with his prior litigation. See ECF 1. Specifically, he claims that the City: (1) procured a fraudulent affidavit from Rod DeVilbiss, former Baltimore City Fire Department Division Chief of Administration and Support, id. ¶¶ 33-38, 46, 50; (2) falsely claimed that plaintiff “sat on his rights” and was not motivated to pursue administrative remedies, id. ¶¶ 42-43; (3) falsely stated that plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative rights, id. ¶¶ 52-54; (4) regularly withheld evidence to obtain a favorable ruling, id. ¶¶ 59-66; (5) failed to introduce into the record an employee incident report related to plaintiff's injury, id. ¶¶ 67-69; (6) untruthfully claimed that plaintiff was not happy with the hearing examiner's decision and chose to return to work, id. ∙¶ 72; (7) knowingly made false statements during the administrative process related to plaintiff's disability benefits, id. ¶¶ 74-76, 83-91; (8) falsely stated that plaintiff was demonstrating self-limiting behavior at the time of his functional capacity evaluation, id. ¶ 78; (9) withheld relevant information from the administrative hearing officer and Dr. Halikeman, a City doctor who examined plaintiff, id. ΒΆΒΆ 80-82; (10) untruthfully told another judge of this court that plaintiff's ...


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