United States District Court, District of Columbia
Document No. 67
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Judgment
Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) matter comes
before the Court on Plaintiff Jack Jordan's (“Mr.
Jordan's”) motion for relief from judgment. Mr.
Jordan previously submitted FOIA requests with the United
States Department of Labor's (“DOL's”)
Office of Administrative Law Judges, seeking unredacted
versions of two emails related to a lawsuit in which Mr.
Jordan represented his wife, Maria Jordan, against DynCorp
International, Inc. (“DynCorp”). In a prior
opinion, this Court granted summary judgment to DOL in part,
upholding DOL's withholding of one email (the
“Powers email”) as protected by the attorney
client privilege but ordering the production of the second
email (the “Huber email”) to Mr. Jordan. Mr.
Jordan now seeks relief from the Court's grant of summary
judgment regarding the Powers email pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 60. Because Mr. Jordan fails to meet the
standards set forth in Rule 60, the Court denies the motion.
Court presumes familiarity with its prior opinions, see
Jordan v. U.S. Dep't of Labor (“Jordan
I”), 273 F.Supp.3d 214 (D.D.C. 2017); Jordan
v. U.S. Dep't of Labor (“Jordan
II”), 308 F.Supp.3d 24 (D.D.C. 2018), and only
briefly summarizes the facts relevant to the present motion.
Jordan, an attorney, represented his wife in a 2016 Defense
Base Act case against DynCorp before DOL. Jordan I,
273 F.Supp.3d at 219. Mr. Jordan submitted a number of FOIA
requests to DOL regarding the case, seeking, inter
alia, the disclosure of emails forwarded to a DOL
Administrative Law Judge by DynCorp. See Id. at
219-20. In response, DOL disclosed redacted versions of the
Huber and Powers emails but refused to produce unredacted
versions, which it contended were protected by the
attorney-client privilege. See Id. at 220-21. Mr.
Jordan commenced litigation in this Court in September 2016,
seeking “[i]njunctive relief ordering the DOL to
disclose to [Mr. Jordan] all previously undisclosed versions
of the [DynCorp] [e]mails.” Compl. at 10-11, ECF No. 1;
Pl.'s Unopposed Mot. Leave Amend. Compl., ECF No. 19.
Both Mr. Jordan and the DOL moved for summary judgment on the
issue of whether the Powers and Huber emails were protected
by the attorney-client privilege. See Jordan I, 273
F.Supp.3d at 224.
conducting an in camera inspection of the two
emails, this Court granted summary judgment in part to DOL,
determining that the Powers email was privileged and properly
withheld, but that DOL had not sufficiently justified the
basis for withholding the Huber email. Id. at 227.
The Court noted that the Powers email, unlike the Huber
email, was labelled “subject to attorney-client
privilege” and contained an explicit request for legal
advice. Id. And it found that DOL had released all
reasonably segregable portions of the Powers email.
Id. at 235. In a later opinion denying the DOL's
renewed motion for summary judgment, the Court found that the
Huber email was not covered by attorney-client privilege and
ordered the disclosure of that document. Jordan II,
308 F.Supp.3d at 44. The Court also denied Mr. Jordan's
motion for reconsideration of its determination that the
Powers email was protected by the attorney-client privilege.
See Id. at 38-39.
Jordan then appealed this Court's holding regarding the
Powers email to the D.C. Circuit. Pl.'s Notice of Appeal,
ECF No. 62. The D.C. Circuit summarily affirmed, holding that
this Court “did not err” in concluding that the
Powers email was exempt from disclosure. Jordan v. U.S.
Dep't of Labor (“Jordan III”),
No. 18-5128, 2018 WL 5819393 at *1 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 19, 2018).
Moreover, the Circuit held that “[t]o the extent [Mr.
Jordan] s[ought] disclosure of the parts of the Powers email
that read ‘attorney-client privilege' and seek an
explicit request for legal advice, the district court did not
err in declining to require disclosure of such disjointed
words.” Id. at *2.
Jordan has now filed a motion for relief from judgment,
asking this Court to set aside its prior ruling and to hold
that the Powers email is not protected by attorney-client
privilege. Pl.'s Mot. Relief J. 10, ECF No. 67.
60(b) provides a mechanism for relief from a judgment or
order by permitting the court to relieve a party or its legal
representative from a final judgment, order, or
proceeding[.]” Oladokun v. Corr. Treatment
Facility, 309 F.R.D. 94, 97 (D.D.C. 2015). The burden
falls to the party seeking relief to “[show] that he or
she is entitled to relief.” Id.; see also
Green v. AFL-CIO, 287 F.R.D. 107, 109 (D.D.C. 2012). The
final decision to grant or deny a Rule 60(b) motion is
“committed to the discretion of the District Court,
” United Mine Workers 1974 Pension v.
Pittston Co., 984 F.2d 469, 476 (D.C. Cir. 1993), which
“balance[s] the interest in justice with the interest
in protecting the finality of judgments, ” Summers
v. Howard Univ., 374 F.3d 1188, 1193 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
The movant “must provide the district court with reason
to believe that vacating the judgment will not be an empty
exercise or a futile gesture.” Murray v. District
of Columbia, 52 F.3d 353, 355 (D.C. Cir. 1995).
Jordan asserts that relief from the Court's judgment is
warranted under Rules 60(a), 60(b)(2), 60(b)(3), 60(d)(3),
60(b)(4), 60(b)(5), and 60(b)(6). This Court reviews in turn
Mr. Jordan's arguments as to Rules 60(a) and 60(b)(1);
Rule 60(b)(2); Rules 60(b)(3) and 60(d)(3); Rule 60(b)(4);
Rule 60(b)(5); and Rule 60(b)(6). Because ...