United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before this Court are three letters (ECF Nos. 497,
509, 518) filed by pro se litigant William C. Bond
("Mr. Bond"). Mr. Bond is a concerned member of the
public seeking information relating to Defendant Richard
Byrd's former attorney, Kenneth Ravenell. Mr. Bond seeks
to intervene in this case and petitions this Court to
"unseal all the still sealed filings that concern the
disqualification of Kenneth W. Ravenell or his previous law
firm." (ECF No. 497.) Mr. Bond's submissions have
been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local
Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). As Mr. Bond acknowledges, this
Court has previously denied his request to intervene and
unseal documents. (Memorandum Opinion & Order, ECF No.
170.) Flis letters are best construed as motions to
reconsider this ruling pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 54(b). For the reasons stated herein, Bond's
motions to reconsider (ECF Nos. 597, 518) are DENIED.
October 31, 2014 United States Magistrate Judge Timothy J.
Sullivan of this Court issued an order that (1) directed the
Clerk of Court to make note of attorney inquiry hearings
occurring on September 11, 2014 and October 10, 2014; and (2)
denied Mr, Bond's request to unseal electronic recordings
and transcripts pertaining to those hearings. (Order, ECF No.
100.) Subsequendy, Mr. Bond filed a Motion to Correct and/or
Reconsider (ECF No. 10.7), which Judge Sullivan denied in a
Memorandum and Order (ECF No. 116). Judge Sullivan
additionally issued a Sealed Supplement (ECF No. 117) which
further articulated his reasoning for the decision. On
January 23, 2015, Mr. Bond noticed an appeal. (ECF No. 119).
This Court denied Mr. Bond's appeal and affirmed Judge
Sullivan's orders. (ECF No. 170). Mr. Bond now seeks
reconsideration of this Court's ruling. (ECF Nos. 497,
Bond petitions this Court to revisit its prior orders denying
his motion to intervene and unseal documents. An unsuccesful
litigant may move for the reconsideration of a court's
interlocutory order pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Fayetteville Investors v.
Commercial Builders, Inc., 936 F.2d 1462, 1470 (4th Cir.
1991). This Court's discretion to revise its
interlocutory orders "is not limitless." U.S.
Tobacco Coop. Inc. v. Big South Wholesale of Virginia,
Inc., 899 F.3d 236, 256 (4th Cir. 2018) (quoting
Carlson v. Boston Set. Corp., 856 F.3d 320, 325 (4th
Cir. 2017)). An interlocturoy order may only be amended to
account for "(1) a subsequent trial producing
substantially different evidence; (2) a change in applicable
law; or (3) clear error causing manifest injustice."
Bond presents three reasons why this Court should alter its
prior ruling, permit his intervention, and unseal documents.
First, Mr. Bond references (without comment) this Court's
decision in Richard Kurland v. ACE American Ins.
Co., JKB-15-2668 (D. Md. Sept. 13, 2018), ECF No. 51.
Second, Mr. Bond argues that the Court's prior Memorandum
Order (ECF No. 170) incorrectly referred to "attorney
inquiry hearings" when, Mr. Bond argues, it should have
referred to "attorney disqualification hearings."
(ECF No. 518 at 2.) Finally, Mr. Bond argues that this
Court's prior ruling is "outdated . . . because of
Mr. Ravenell now being formally indicted" and grand jury
secrecy can no longer support this Court's decision to
seal materials. (ECF No. 518 at 3.)
Kurland does not require this
Court to alter its prior ruling.
Bond cites Richard Kurland v. ACE American Ins. Co.,
JKB-15-2668 (D. Md. Sept 13, 2018), ECF No. 51, in support of
his motion. In Kurland, this Court considered the
prevailing plaintiffs' motion to seal a civil matter
which had been closed for three years. Id. at 1.
This Court began its analysis by noting that documents may
only be sealed upon the proffer of a "compelling
government interest" and a demonstration "that the
proposed sealing is narrowly tailored to serve that
interest." Id. (citing Va. Dep't of
State Police v. Washington Post, 386 F.3d 567, 578 (4th
Cir. 2004); Rushford v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc.,
846 F.2d 249, 253 (4th Cir. 1988)). Ultimately, this Court
denied the plaintiffs' motion to seal, reasoning that
they had chosen to litigate their case in a public forum and
that the case had been unsealed for three years. Id.
does not counsel a revision of this Court's Memorandum
Order (ECF No. 170). Kurland merely rebuffed an
attempt to seal a routine civil case which had always been,
and remained, public. In this case, this Court applied the
standards for sealing documents articulated in Va. Dep
't of State Police and found that sealing was
necessary to protect Mr. Byrd's Sixth Amendment rights,
that the Sealed Supplement filed by Judge Sullivan (ECF No.
117) provided additional support for sealing documents, and
that sealing was necessary to preserve the secrecy of a grand
jury. (ECF No. 170 at 1-5.) These circumstances warranted
sealing then and continue to warrant sealing now.
This Court's references to "attorney inquiry
hearings" do not require revision of its prior
Bond contends that the "attorney inquiry hearings"
referenced in this Court's Order were in fact
"attorney disqualification hearings." (ECF No. 518
at 2-3.) He argues that disqualification hearings, as opposed
to inquiry hearings, should be subject to "a strong
presumption of openness." (Id. at 3 n.4.) This
argument is meridess. Judge Sullivan's Order, which this
Court affirmed, explicitly sealed documents related to
attorney inquiry hearings. (ECF No. 100.) Even if
"attorney inquiry hearings" were subject to
different analyses than "attorney disqualification
hearings," the distinction is irrelevant in this case.
The indictment of Attorney Kenneth Ravenell does not require
a revision ...