United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL AND
GRANTING MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 26, 2016, Plaintiff Aaron Robinson filed a complaint
which alleged that Defendants Genesee County Sheriff's
Department, Sergeant Gerald Park, Deputy Ryan Rainwater,
Deputy F/N/U Hoover, and ten other John Does repeatedly beat
and otherwise mistreated Robinson while he was confined in
the Genesee County Jail. ECF No. 1. On April 27, 2018,
Defendant Park filed a motion for summary judgment. ECF No.
91. On May 4, 2018, Defendants Parks and Rainwater filed a
motion seeking leave to depose MDOC inmate Edward Burley. ECF
No. 84. In the motion they indicated that Burley sent defense
counsel a letter wherein he represents that he was told by
Robinson that the allegations in the complaint are
“entirely contrived.” Id. at 2. The
motion was granted. ECF No. 99. Several days later, the Court
held a settlement conference. At the conference, the parties
discussed a number of aspects of the case, including Mr.
Burley's assertion that the allegations in the complaint
are fraudulent. At the conclusion of the settlement
conference (and after several private discussions with
Robinson), Plaintiff's counsel indicated that they would
be filing a motion to withdraw as counsel.
29, 2018, that motion was filed. ECF No. 101. Plaintiff's
counsel indicate that “an irreconcilable breakdown in
the attorney-client relationship” has emerged.
Id. at 2. The Court directed Plaintiff's counsel
to serve their client with the motion, directed Robinson to
file a response to the motion, and briefly extended the
response deadline for the pending motion for summary
judgment. ECF No. 105. Since then, Defendants Rainwater and
Genesee County have filed motions for summary judgment. ECF
Nos. 112, 113. All three motions for summary judgment have
been set for hearing on August 21, 2018.
21, 2018, Robinson filed his response to his counsel's
motion to withdraw. ECF No. 119. In the response, Robinson
discusses the difficulties of litigating while pro se and
incarcerated. For that reason, he opposes the motion to
withdraw. Under the Michigan rules of Professional Conduct,
without material adverse effect on the interests of the
client, or if:
(4) 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;
(5) the representation will result in an unreasonable
financial burden on the lawyer or has been rendered
unreasonably difficult by the client; or
(6)other good cause for withdrawal exists.
Mich. R. Prof'l Conduct 1.16(b).
is presumptively appropriate where the rule requirements are
satisfied.” Brandon v. Blech, 560
F.3d 536, 538 (6th Cir. 2009). However, “a district
court may forbid withdrawal if it would work severe prejudice
on the client or third parties.” Brandon v.
Blech, 560 F.3d 536, 538 (6th Cir. 2009).
given the breakdown in attorney-client communications, good
cause for withdrawal exists. Robinson contends that he will
be prejudiced by the withdrawal because he is less capable of
representing himself. But that kind of potential prejudice is
inherent in every motion to withdraw. Plaintiff's counsel
represent that continuing to represent Robinson would result
in an “unreasonable financial burden.” Mot.
Withdraw at 6. They further suggest that withdrawal is
necessary because “anticipated (per client) evidence .
. . has not materialized, ” suggesting that perhaps
their ethical responsibilities have been implicated. The
motion to withdraw will be granted.
counsel have also filed a motion for an extension of time to
respond to the pending motions for summary judgment. ECF No.
116. They explain that “responding to these motions
would place counsel in conflict.” Id. at 2.
They also argue that, if the motion to withdraw is granted,
Robinson should have additional time to seek counsel and/or
prepare responses himself. Because the motion to withdraw
will be granted, the motion for an extension will also be
granted. The response deadline for all three motions for
summary judgment will be synchronized and extended until July
20, 2018. Defendants' reply brief deadline will be July
27, 2018, or one week after Plaintiff responds, which comes
later. The remainder of the schedule will be unchanged.
it is ORDERED that Plaintiff Robinson's
motion to ...