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Baker v. United States

April 10, 2008

DARRYL ORRIN BAKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J., District J.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

On July 11, 2006, this Court entered a Memorandum Order granting the Defendants' dispositive motions and closing the above-captioned case [Doc. # 29].

Nearly eleven months later, Plaintiff filed a slew of motions seeking to re-open the time for post-judgment motions and/or appeal on the ground that he had not been served with the Memorandum Order. In a separate Memorandum Order filed on January 31, 2008 [Doc. # 49], this Court denied Plaintiff's motions on the ground that Plaintiff did not satisfy the criteria for re-opening the time for appeal under Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(6). See Baker v. United States, 534 F. Supp. 2d 578 (W.D. Pa. 2008).

Plaintiff is now once again before the Court with three motions, to wit: (1) "Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a Second Direct Appeal Pursuant to Fed. Rules. [sic] App. P. 4(a)(1)(A)" [Doc. # 51]; (2) "Motion for Leave to Amend the Plaintiff's Notice of Appeal Pursuant to Fed. Rules. [sic] Civ. P. 3 and 4" [Doc. # 52]; and (3) "Plaintiff's Second Motion Pursuant to Fed. Rule. [sic] Civ. P. 59(e) Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment" [Doc. # 53]. Collectively, these motions seek reconsideration of my January 31, 2008 Memorandum Order and a re-opening of Plaintiff's time to appeal the July 11, 2006 case-dispositive ruling.

More specifically, Plaintiff urges this Court to "amend" or "alter" its January 31, 2008 ruling on the ground that I misapprehended and overlooked material facts showing that federal prison authorities mishandled Plaintiff's copy of the July 11, 2006 Memorandum Order. Relying on the Third Circuit's ruling in United States v. Grana, 864 F.2d 312 (3d Cir. 1989), Plaintiff argues that his appeal period was tolled as a result of the prison staff's failure to deliver his copy of the Memorandum Order.

Generally, the purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to consider newly discovered evidence. See 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 previously; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. Max's Seafood Café v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir.1999). Here, the only arguably applicable ground is the last one.

Thus, Plaintiff must show that reconsideration of my January 31, 2008 ruling is necessary to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.

This he cannot do. As I previously observed, Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(6) provides limited circumstances under which a period of appeal can be re-opened by the district court:

(6) Reopening the Time to File an Appeal

The district court may reopen the time to file an appeal for a period of 14 days after the date when its order to reopen is entered, but only if all the following conditions are satisfied:

(A) the court finds that the moving party did not receive notice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 77(d) of the entry of the judgment or order sought to be appealed within 21 days after entry;

(B) the motion is filed within 180 days after the judgment or order is entered or within 7 days after the moving party receives notice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 77(d) of the entry, whichever is earlier; and

(C) the court finds that no party would be prejudiced.

Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(6). For the reasons previously discussed in ...


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