United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis United States District Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiff Jerry Goralski Lamb's
Motion to Withdraw Counsel and for Relief from a Judgment or
Order. ECF No. 77. The motion is fully briefed, and no
hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the
following reasons, the Motion to Withdraw Counsel is GRANTED,
and the Motion for Relief from a Judgment or Order is DENIED.
Jerry Lamb was employed by the Navy and Naval Air Systems
Command (collectively, “the Agency”) as a
Contracts Specialist from 2009 until his termination on
August 17, 2015. ECF No. 41 ¶¶ 17, 52. Lamb filed
suit in this Court, challenging the Merit Systems Protection
Board's (“MSPB”) affirmance of the
Agency's decision to terminate his employment.
on March 9, 2015, Lamb left work to begin treatment for his
back, along with his anxiety and depression. ECF No. 41
¶ 33. After Lamb failed to provide requested medical
documentation to support his extended leave, his supervisor,
Terrence O'Connell, coded Lamb's missed days as
Absent Without Leave (“AWOL”). Id.
¶ 46. At the end of April 2015, Lamb did not return to
work due to other health-related reasons. Id. ¶
50. On or about May 14, 2015, O'Connell filed a Proposed
Action for Removal against Lamb based on his AWOL status from
March to May for a total of 43 days. Id. ¶ 51.
On August 17, 2015, Lamb's employment was terminated.
Id. ¶ 52.
August 20, 2015, Lamb appealed his removal from the Agency to
the MSPB. ECF No. 23-23 at 1. After conducting a two-day
hearing, the MSPB issued its Initial Decision on February 11,
2016, finding that the Agency had properly coded Lamb as AWOL
and that Lamb had “failed to prove any of his
affirmative defenses . . . by preponderant evidence.”
Id. at 34. On July 27, 2016, Lamb filed this action
to appeal the MSPB's decision, alleging the MSPB erred
because the Agency had violated the Rehabilitation Act
(“Rehab Act”), the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“ADA”), and the Family Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”). ECF No. 41 ¶¶ 53-82.
April 9, 2018, Defendant moved to dismiss or, alternatively,
for summary judgment in his favor. See ECF No. 47.
The Court granted Defendant's motion on December 7, 2018,
dismissing Lamb's ADA and FMLA claims, and further
granting summary judgment in Defendant's favor on the
Rehab Act claims. ECF No. 69 at 8-13. On January 7, 2019,
Lamb noted his appeal of the Court's decision to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
See ECF No. 72. The appeal is still pending.
now moves for relief from this Court's December 7
decision under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). ECF No.
77 at 1. Lamb also asks that this Court allow his current
counsel to withdraw from representation. Id. The
Court addresses the motions separately.
Motion to Withdraw Counsel
“seeks leave to withdraw his current counsel of
record” and proceed pro se. ECF No. 77 at 1. Lamb's
attorneys previously moved to withdraw from representation
while the case was on appeal. The Court denied the request
because the notice of appeal had deprived this court of
jurisdiction. See ECF No. 75. However, now that Lamb
has filed his reconsideration motion pursuant to Rule 60(b),
this Court may exercise limited jurisdiction to decide the
motion so as to “preserve judicial resources and
eliminate unnecessary expense and delay.” Fobian
v. Storage Tech. Corp., 164 F.3d 887, 890 (4th Cir.
1999) (internal marks and citations omitted). Accordingly,
the Rule 60(b) motion has resurrected question of
representation before this Court.
longer wishes for counsel to represent him and counsel
concurs in the sentiment. Counsel's appearance is
therefore stricken, and Lamb proceeds pro se.
Motion for Relief from a Judgment or Order
seeks relief from the Court's final judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(2) and (b)(6). ECF No.
77 at 1. Rule 60(b) allows a district court to relieve a
party “from a final judgment, order, or
proceeding” based on a list of enumerated grounds, or
for “any other reason that justifies relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). To receive Rule 60(b) relief, a
“plaintiff must make a threshold showing of timeliness,
a meritorious claim or defense, and a lack of unfair
prejudice to the opposing party.” Bank v. M/V
"Mothership", No. ELH-18-3378, 2019 WL
2192488, at *4 (D. Md. May 20, 2019) (citing Aikens v.
Ingram, 652 F.3d 496, 501 (4th Cir. 2011)). “After
a party has crossed this initial threshold, he then must
satisfy one of the six specific sections of Rule
60(b).” Id. (quoting Dowell v. State Farm
Fire & Cas. Auto. Ins. Co., 993 F.2d 46, 48 (4th
“Rule 60(b) does not authorize a motion merely for
reconsideration of a legal issue.” United States v.
Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312 (4th Cir. 1982); see
also M/V “Mothership”, 2019 WL 2192488, at
*4 (“Rule 60(b) was not intended as a substitute for a
direct appeal from an erroneous judgment.”) (citation
omitted). “Where the motion is nothing more than a