The opinion of the court was delivered by: SYLVIA RAMBO, Senior District Judge
Before the court is Plaintiff's Motion for a Mistrial/New Trial
or Eventual Reconsideration of Judgments of Decisions of the
Court and Jury on 7/18/05 and 8/2/05 (Doc. 284). Plaintiff filed
the motion, pro se, on August 23, 2005. The parties have
briefed the issues and the matter is ripe for disposition. For
the following reasons, the court will deny Plaintiff's motion.
The facts of this case are well-known to both parties. Thus,
the court will not recite them here. Plaintiff, who is
incarcerated at SCI-Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, commenced
this action on September 13, 2001. Following a jury trial, the
jury returned a verdict for Defendants on August 2, 2005. On
August 2, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Mistrial/New Trial
(Doc. 272). On August 11, 2005 Plaintiff requested an enlargement
of time in which to file a brief in support of his motion in
order to develop additional arguments for why a new trial should
be granted. In an August 12, 2005 order (Doc. 275), the court
denied Plaintiff's request for an extension as premature because the
allotted time for filing a brief in support of Plaintiff's motion
would not expire until August 22, 2005. The court also indicated
that if Plaintiff filed a new motion and comprehensive supporting
brief containing all of his arguments by August 22, 2005, his
first motion would be deemed to be withdrawn and the court would
rule only on the all-inclusive motion. On August 31, 2005, the
court granted an extension of time in which Plaintiff could file
an amended motion and supporting all-inclusive brief (Doc. 281).
Plaintiff subsequently filed the instant motion (Doc. 284) with
supporting brief on September 2, 2005. Accordingly, the court
will deem Plaintiff's first Motion for Mistrial/New Trial to be
withdrawn and consider only the instant all-inclusive motion.
A motion for a new trial is governed by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59. Under this rule, in the case of a jury trial, "[a]
new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all
or part of the issues . . . for any of the reasons for which new
trials have heretofore been granted in actions at law in the
courts of the United States." Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a)(1). In the
Third Circuit, a new trial is warranted "when the verdict is
against the great weight of the evidence or errors at trial
produce a result inconsistent with substantial justice." Sandrow
v. United States, 832 F. Supp. 918, 918 (E.D. Pa. 1993) (citing
Roebuck v. Drexel Univ., 852 F.2d 715, 735-36 (3d Cir. 1988));
see also Bullen v. Chaffinch, 336 F. Supp. 2d 342, 346 (D. Del. 2004) (noting that excessive damages or improper use of
peremptory challenges to exclude potential jurors on the basis of
race are other grounds for a new trial).
When a motion for a new trial is based on a prejudicial error
of law, the court has broad discretion to order a new trial.
Klein v. Hollings, 992 F.2d 1285, 1289-90 (3d Cir. 1993). If,
however, a motion for a new trial is premised on a verdict that
is allegedly against the weight of the evidence, the court's
discretion is more limited. Williamson v. Consol. Rail Corp.,
926 F.2d 1344, 1353 (3d Cir. 1991). Under these circumstances, a
new trial should only be granted when the verdict "cries out to
be overturned or shocks the conscience." Id. Nonetheless, in
reviewing a motion for a new trial, the court must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the verdict winner. Marino v.
Ballestas, 749 F.2d 162, 167 (3d Cir. 1984); see also 12 James
Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 59.13.
B. Motion for Reconsideration
A motion for reconsideration is governed by Federal Rule 59(e),
which allows a party to move to alter or amend a judgment within
ten days of its entry.*fn1 McDowell Oil Serv., Inc. v.
Interstate Fire & Cas. Co., 817 F. Supp. 538, 541 (M.D. Pa.
1993). The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence. Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir.
1985). Accordingly, a judgment may be altered or amended if the
party seeking reconsideration shows at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2)
the availability of new evidence that was not available when the
court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to
correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest
injustice. Max's Seafood Café by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros,
176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing North River Ins. Co. v.
CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). "`A
motion for reconsideration is not to be used as a means to
reargue matters already argued and disposed of or as an attempt
to relitigate a point of disagreement between the Court and the
litigant.'" Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F. Supp. 2d 588,
606 (M.D. Pa. 2002) (quoting Abu-Jamal v. Horn, No. CIV. A.
99-5089, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20813, 2001 WL 1609761, at *9
(E.D. Pa. Dec. 18, 2001) (citations and internal quotation marks
omitted)). Likewise, reconsideration motions may not be used to
raise new arguments or present evidence that could have been
raised prior to the entry of judgment. McDowell Oil Serv. Inc.,
817 F. Supp. at 541. Finally, reconsideration of judgment is an
extraordinary remedy, and such motions should be granted
sparingly. D'Angio v. Borough of Nescopeck, 56 F. Supp. 2d 502,
504 (M.D. Pa. 1999).
Plaintiff asks the court to reconsider his claims or grant a
new trial for reasons primarily related to the alleged conduct of
opposing counsel at trial, including the Attorney General's
Office and the Law Offices of Alan Gold, as well as the conduct
of Plaintiff's attorneys, Walter T. Grabowski and Barry H.
Dyller. Plaintiff makes numerous factual allegations that can be
summarized as claims of ethics violations and attorney
misconduct, discovery violations, ineffective assistance of counsel, and a denial of access to the courts. The
court will address each argument in turn.
A. Ethics Violations and Attorney Misconduct
Plaintiff argues that all of the attorneys involved, including
his own, violated professional ethics and conduct rules and
requests that the court conduct an investigation into his
allegations and refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for formal
proceedings. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Alan Gold lied
about having a broken hip at some point during the proceedings
and that attorneys in the Office of the Attorney General lied and
allowed Defendants to lie under oath. In addition, Plaintiff
alleges that his attorneys and Defendants' ...