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Zied v. Astrue

March 31, 2008

MINDY JAYE ZIED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.
MINDY JAYE ZIED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JO ANNE B. BARNHART, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are four motions by Plaintiff Mindy J. Zied. First is a motion (Doc. 45 in 06-1219*fn1 asking the Court to reconsider its order of February 19, 2008 (Doc. 44 in 06-1219; Doc. 51 in 06-2305) to the extent that Order denied Plaintiff's motion to submit an objection to Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt's October 25, 2007 Report and Recommendation (Doc. 37 in 06-1219) and denied her motion to stay objections to Magistrate Judge Blewitt's August 6, 2007 Report and Recommendation (Doc. 29 in 06-2305).

The second motion before this Court is Plaintiff's motion for sanctions (Doc. 35 in 06-2305) against "all the attorneys involved and/or all the Defendants." (Id. at 8.) The third motion before the Court is Plaintiff's motion "to Hold Case # 06-1219 in Abeyance in Relation to any Type of Report and Recommendation Until Plaintiff's Motion for the Recusal of Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt Can Be Heard in this Court." (Doc. 36 in 06-2305.) The fourth motion is Plaintiff's motion requesting permission to move for summary judgment in her social security case. (Doc. 19 in 06-1219.)

Because Objections to the Report and Recommendation in each case would have been timely if filed on the date of Plaintiff's February 6, 2008 motion; because Plaintiff has not submitted compelling reasons for the Court to revisit in a motion for reconsideration an earlier discretionary decision denying an extension; because sanctions are not warranted in this case; because Plaintiff's motion to hold case number 3:06-CV-1219 in abeyance is moot; and because Local Rule 83.40.1 requires that "a civil action brought to review a decision of the Social Security Administration denying a claim for social security disability benefits shall be adjudicated as an appeal pursuant to this rule," Plaintiff's motions will be granted in part and denied in part. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

BACKGROUND

The motions before the Court today involve two (2) separate cases. The case captioned as 3:06-CV-1219 is an appeal pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of a decision by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("SSA"). (See Procedural Order for Social Security Appeals, Mar. 20, 2006, Doc. 4 in 06-1219 (Vanaskie, J.); Am. Compl., Doc. 13 in 06-1219). The case captioned as 3:06-CV-2305 is a separate civil rights action Plaintiff brought against the former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration Jo Anne B. Barnhart, the SSA, and others, alleging violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") and Plaintiff's rights under the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (See Compl., Doc. 1 in 06-2305; Report & Recommendation, Doc. 29 in 06-2305, at 2-3.)

In the Social Security appeal, Magistrate Judge Blewitt issued a Report and Recommendation on October 25, 2007 (Doc. 37 in 06-1219) recommending that the case be remanded to the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") for further proceedings consistent with the Magistrate's opinion and also recommended that Plaintiff's motion for sanctions (Doc. 31 in 06-1219) be denied. (See Doc. 37 in 06-1219, at 18 & n.2.) Objections to this Report and Recommendation were due by November 13, 2007.

In Plaintiff's other case, the civil rights action, Magistrate Judge Blewitt issued a Report and Recommendation on August 6, 2007 (Doc. 29 in 06-2305) responding to both Defendants Barnhart et al.'s motion to dismiss (Doc. 19 in 06-2305) and Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment (Doc. 22 in 06-2305). Magistrate Judge Blewitt recommended that all claims in the civil rights case be dismissed except Plaintiff's FOIA claim against Defendants Barnhart and the SSA, and also recommended that Plaintiff's motion for judgment be denied. (Doc. 29 in 06-2305.) After Plaintiff filed a motion for an extension of time to file objections, this Court ordered that objections to the Report and Recommendation would be due by November 10, 2007. (Doc. 31 in 06-2305).

On October 31, 2007, before Objections were due in either case, this Court issued an order (Doc. 38 in 06-1219; Doc. 45 in 06-2305) holding both cases in abeyance until December 31, 2007, in order to allow settlement negotiations to proceed. On December 27, 2007, this Court issued an order (Doc. 41 in 06-1219, Doc. 48 in 06-2305) continuing this period of abeyance until January 31, 2008.

Within a week after the period of abeyance ended, Plaintiff filed identical motions in both cases, each making three (3) requests. (Doc. 43 in 06-1219; Doc. 50 in 06-1219.) First, she requested permission to supply a report of her January 30, 2008 meeting with opposing counsel at an SSA office; I granted this request. (Doc. 44 in 06-1219; Doc. 51 in 06-2305.) Second, she moved to submit an Objection to the October 25, 2007 Report and Recommendation in her Social Security appeal case. (Doc. 43 in 06-1219; Doc. 50 in 06-1219.) I denied this motion as untimely. (Doc. 44 in 06-1219; Doc. 51 in 06-1219.) Third, she moved to continue the stay in her civil rights case, in essence requesting an extension of time for filing Objections to the August 6, 2007 Report and Recommendation in that case. (Doc. 43 in 06-1219; Doc. 50 in 06-1219.). I denied this request as well. (Doc. 44 in 06-1219; Doc. 51 in 06-1219.) Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration of these denials. (Doc. 45 in 06-1219.)

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion for reconsideration is governed by Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which allows a party to move to alter or amend a judgment within ten days of entry. FED. R. CIV. P. 59(e). 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). A judgment may be altered or amended if the party seeking reconsideration establishes at least one of the following grounds: "(1) an intervening change in 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). "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)."[R]econsideration motions may not be used to raise new arguments or present evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of judgment." Hill v. Tammac Corp., Civ. A. No. 05-1148, 2006 WL 529044, at *2 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 3, 2006). Lastly, the reconsideration of a 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).

DISCUSSION

I. Motion for ...


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