United States District Court, District of Columbia
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge
Motion to Withdraw as Plaintiff's Counsel of Record
Without Substitution; Granting Plaintiff's Counsel's
Motion to Submit Confidential Declaration
case was filed by Plaintiff, Sabre International Security
(“Sabre”), a private Iraqi security company,
against Defendants, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions,
LLC-a Virginia limited liability company-Jerry Torres, and
Rebekah Dyer (collectively “Torres”).
See Compl., ECF No. 1. Timothy B. Mills, of the law
firm Maggs & McDermott LLC, and Michael A. Gordon, of the
law firm Michael A. Gordon PLLC, (collectively “Moving
Attorneys”) represent Sabre in this case.
the Court is Moving Attorneys' motion to withdraw as
counsel for Sabre and Torres's opposition to that motion.
See Mot. Withdraw as Pl.'s Counsel Without
Substitution (“Mot. Withdraw”), ECF No. 517;
Defs.' Opp'n Pl.'s Counsel's Mot. to Withdraw
(“Opp'n Mot. Withdraw”), ECF No. 518. In
support of their motion to withdraw, Moving Attorneys also
filed a motion requesting leave to file the confidential
declaration of Timothy B. Mills under seal for ex
parte, in camera review. See Pl.'s
Counsel's Mot. Submit Confidential Decl. for Ex Parte
In Camera Review (“Mot. Leave File Under
Seal”), ECF No. 522. Moving Attorneys have attached a
redacted version of Mr. Mills's declaration to their
reply in support of the motion to withdraw. See
Pl.'s Counsel's Reply Supp. Mot. Withdraw, Ex. 1, ECF
No. 521-1. Although Sabre has not provided written consent
for its attorneys to withdraw, it has not joined in
Torres's opposition or otherwise objected to the motion
to withdraw. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
grant Moving Attorneys' motion for leave to file the
declaration of Mr. Mills under seal for in camera
review and grant their motion to withdraw without
a fundamental premise, counsel is under an obligation to see
the work through to completion when he agrees to undertake
the representation of his client.” Laster v.
District of Columbia, 460 F.Supp.2d 111, 113
(D.D.C. 2006) (citing Streetman v. Lynaugh, 674
F.Supp. 229, 234 (E.D. Tex. 1987); see also Byrd v.
District of Columbia, 271 F.Supp.2d 174, 176 (D.D.C.
2003). The withdrawal of an attorney from a civil action in
the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
is governed by Local Civil Rule 83.6. When, as here,
attorneys wish to withdraw from representing a party but the
client has not consented and has no other attorney
representing him in the matter, a formal motion must be filed
and granted by the court. See Banneker Venters, LLC v.
Graham, No. 13-391, 2016 WL 1304834, at *2 (D.D.C. Mar.
31, 2016). The Local Rule states that,
if a party's written consent is not obtained, or if the
party is not represented by another attorney, an attorney may
withdraw an appearance for a party only by order of the Court
upon motion by the attorney served upon all parties to the
case. Unless the party is represented by another attorney or
the motion is made in open court in the party's presence,
a motion to withdraw an appearance shall be accompanied by a
certificate of service listing the party's last known
address and stating that the attorney has served upon the
party a copy of the motion and a notice advising the party to
obtain other counsel, or, if the party intends to conduct the
case pro se or to object to the withdrawal, to so
notify the Clerk in writing within seven days of service of
decision to grant or deny counsel's motion to withdraw is
committed to the discretion of the district court.”
Laster, 460 F.Supp.2d at 113 (citing Whiting v.
Lacara, 187 F.3d 317, 320 (2d Cir. 1999)). “The
Court may deny an attorney's motion for leave to withdraw
if the withdrawal would unduly delay trial of the case, or be
unfairly prejudicial to any party, or otherwise not be in the
interests of justice.” LCvR 83.6(d). A court may also
consider factors such as the length of time the case has been
pending, the time it would take for the party to find and
secure new counsel, and the degree of financial burden
counsel would undergo if he continued to represent the party
in the case. See Barton v. District of Columbia, 209
F.R.D. 274, 277-78 (D.D.C. 2002); Byrd, 271
F.Supp.2d at 176.
supporting motions to withdraw as counsel are routinely filed
under seal where necessary to preserve the confidentiality of
the attorney-client relationship between a party and its
counsel. See Team Obsolete Ltd. v. AHRMA Ltd., 464
F.Supp.2d 164, 165-66 (E.D.N.Y. 2006) (concluding after a
review of relevant case law that “this method is viewed
favorably by the courts”); Weinberger v. Provident
Life & Cas. Ins. Co., No. 97-9262, 1998 WL 898309,
at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 1998) (“[I]t is appropriate
for a Court considering a counsel's motion to withdraw to
consider in camera submissions in order to prevent a party
from being prejudiced by the application of counsel to
Attorneys argue that their withdrawal as counsel for Sabre
will not unduly delay trial or unfairly prejudice any party,
because there is minimal non-stayed pre-trial activity, no
trial date has been set, and the requested 45-day continuance
of any pending proceedings will ensure Sabre has ample time
to retain successor counsel. See Mot. Withdraw at
5-6. Moving Attorneys also claim there have been both a
breakdown in communications and that Moving Attorneys have
irreconcilable differences with Sabre, which would place a
financial burden on them should they continue the
representation. Id. at 6. Moving Attorneys assert
they have fulfilled their ethical obligations to this Court
and to their client, and that withdrawal can be accomplished
without material adverse effect on Sabre's interests.
Id. at 6-7.
contends that the reasons proffered in Moving Attorneys'
motion-particularly, the breakdown of communication and
irreconcilable differences-are vague and insufficient to
support allowing Moving Attorneys to withdraw after five
years of litigation. See Opp'n Mot. Withdraw at
3. Torres claims that even if withdrawal was justified, the
Court should refuse to permit withdrawal without substitution
or refuse to grant a continuance of the proceedings.
Id. at 2. Torres argues that withdrawal, combined
with the requested 45-day continuance and any additional time
required for the new counsel to get up to speed, would unduly
delay the case at a critical juncture. Id. at 5-7.
Torres also notes that, as a corporation, Sabre cannot
represent itself pro se. Id. at 10-11.
Thus, Torres asserts that, if Sabre's counsel is
permitted to withdraw, the case should be dismissed and a
default judgment should be entered on Torres's
counterclaims. Id. ...