United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
Katherine R. Dauphin, Plaintiff,
Louis A. Jennings and Beverly L. Hennager, Defendants.
O' Grady United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Interested Party Michael
Jennings' Motion to Strike Defendant Beverly
Hennager's "Opposition to Attorneys [sic] fees
Request", Dkt. No. 347; Plaintiffs Motion to Strike the
same filing, Dkt. No. 361; Motion to Withdraw as Attorney for
Defendant Beverly Hennager by William Hurd, Stephen C.
Piepgrass, and the law firm of Troutman Sanders, LLP, Dkt.
No, 359; Motion to Withdraw as Attorney for Defendant Beverly
Hennager by Adam Kronfeld and the law firm of Duff Kronfeld
& Marquardt, P.C., Dkt. No. 360; and Defendant Beverly
Hennager's pro se "Motion to Continue
Attorneys [sic] Representation Contingent upon Payments from
Proceeds [sic] of Defendant's Property." Dkt. No,
reasons set forth below, counsels' Motions to Withdraw
arc GRANTED. Dkt. Nos. 359, 360; Defendant Beverly
Hennager's Motion to Continue is DENIED, Dkt. No. 380;
and Michael Jennings and Plaintiffs Motions to Strike are
DENIED. Dkt. No. 347, 361.
April 3, 2017, Defendant Hennager filed a pro se
Opposition to a Supplemental Motion for Attorney Fees. Dkt.
Nos. 343, 344. Michael Jennings and Plaintiff have filed
related motions to strike Defendant Hennager's pro
se filing because she is presently represented by
counsel. Ten days after filing the pro se motion,
both of Defendant Hennager's present counsel moved to
withdraw their representation. See Dkt. Nos. 359,
360. Plaintiff has opposed these withdrawals on the grounds
that Defendant Hennager has not articulated a reason for the
withdrawal and permitting withdrawal will result in delays
which will prejudice the omer parties in the dispute at a
time when few issues remain to be resolved in the case.
See generally Dkt. No. 370. Defendant Henager filed
a further pro se motion elucidating the reasons for
her present counsels' motions to withdraw and requesting
that the Court pay her ongoing legal expenses from her share
of the partnership assets. Dkt. No. 380.
Local Rule 83.1(G) for diis District, [n]o attorney who has
entered an appearance in any civil action shall withdraw such
appearance, or have it stricken from the record, except on
order of the Court and after reasonable notice to the party
on whose behalf said attorney has appeared."
Clim-Thomas v. Keels, 2014 WL 12603134, at *2 (E.D.
Va. July 21, 2014) (quotations omitted). Virginia Rule of
Professional Conduct 1.16(b)(4) authorizes a lawyer's
withdrawal from representation where "the client fails
substantially to fulfill an obligation to the lawyer
regarding the lawyer's services and has been given
reasonable warning that the lawyer will withdraw unless the
obligation is fulfilled." Virginia Rule of Professional
Conduct 1.16(b)(5) further authorizes withdrawal from
representation if "the representation will result in an
unreasonable financial burden on the lawyer or has been
rendered unreasonably difficult by the client." The
Court has wide discretion in ruling on a motion to withdraw.
See Patterson v. Gemini Org., Ltd., 2000 WL 1718542,
at *2 (4th Cir. Nov. 17, 2000).
Motion to Strike
Rule 11(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this
Court is required to strike any unsigned paper, unless the
omission of the signature is corrected promptly after being
called to the attention of the party." Turner v.
Allmon, 2008 WL 6862526, at * 1 (E.D. Va. July 7, 2008),
qff'd, 311 F.App'x 606 (4th Cir. 2009).
Court first addresses present counsels' Motions to
Withdraw and Defendant Hennager's Motion to Continue
Representation. After doing so, the Court addresses the
Motions to Strike Defendant Flennager's pro se
Hennager's present counsel have moved to withdraw their
representation. Mr. Hurd, Mr. Piepgrass, and Troutman
Sanders, LLP indicate that their reason for moving to
withdraw is that "Ms. Hennager has requested that [they]
withdraw their representation." Dkt. No. 359, ¶ 4.
Mr. Kronfeld and Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt, P.C.,