The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo
Before the court are seven motions filed by Defendant: (1) Motion for disqualification of Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo, (Doc. 39); (2) Motion to Claim and Exercise Constitutional Rights and Require the Presiding Judge to rule upon this motion, (Doc. 40); (3) Motion to withdraw motion for Disqualification of Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo, (Doc. 43); (4) Motion for recusal of Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo, (Doc. 45); (5) Motion to Vacate Judge's Order and Reconsider, (Doc. 46); (6) Motion for Enlargement of time of 60 days to complete discovery, (Doc. 47); and (7) Motion to proceed in forma pauperis, (Doc. 48). The court will address each of these motions.*fn1 This memorandum also addresses Defendant's in camera production of documents in compliance with the court's August 14, 2009 order. (Doc. 42.)
I. Motions for Disqualification or Recusal (Docs. 39, 43, 45)
On August 11, 2009, Defendant filed his Motion for Disqualification of Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo. (Doc. 39). On August 14, 2009, Defendant filed a motion to withdraw this motion. (Doc. 43.) The court will grant Defendant's motion to withdraw his motion for disqualification.
On August 28, 2009, Defendant filed a Motion for Recusal of Senior Judge Sylvia H. Rambo. (Doc. 45.) In his motion, Defendant invokes 28 U.S.C. § 455 as the basis for his request for recusal. Defendant's motion cites a litany of reasons why he believes that the undersigned should recuse herself from this case. The court will not repeat the specifics in this memorandum. Suffice it to say that Defendant questions, among other things, this court's impartiality.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), recusal is required whenever a judge's impartiality "might reasonably be questioned." Accordingly, a judge should recuse herself where "a reasonable [person] knowing all the circumstances would harbor doubts concerning the judge's impartiality." Balance Road Corp. v. Bensalem Twp., 57 F.3d 253, 266 (3d Cir. 1995), abrogated on other grounds by United Artists Theatre Circuit, Inc. v. Township of Warrington, PA, 316 F.3d 392 (3rd Cir. 2003).
After examining the entirety of the record, and all of Defendant's arguments for recusal presented in his various motions, the court finds that recusal is not warranted. Defendant's main frustration is that the court has ruled against him on every motion and request that he has filed, including his motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, (Doc. 9), and his motion to proceed in forma pauperis, (Doc. 26). However, "judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality ruling." Liteky v. United States, 519 U.S. 540, 555 (1994).
Defendant has pointed to nothing that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the undersigned has shown a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible. Id. Defendant cannot simply heap innuendo upon unfounded suspicion and hope that it produces some hint of bias sufficient for this court to recuse itself. Although this court has at times expressed frustration with Defendant and what the court believes to be his dilatory conduct, this alone does not warrant recusal. Accordingly, the court will deny Defendant's motion to recuse. (Doc. 45.)
II. Motions to Exercise Constitutional Rights (Doc. 40)
On August 11, 2009, Defendant filed a document titled Motion to Claim and Exercise Constitutional Rights and Require the Presiding Judge to Rule Upon this Motion, and all Public Officers of this Court to uphold said Rights. (Doc. 40). This motion is a rambling eight-paragraph motion seeking among other things that this court provide him with "due process of law" and "acknowledge and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and as the Supreme Law of this court, in this matter." (Doc. 40 ¶¶ 4, 6.) Defendant also requests that this court uphold the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (Id. ¶ 3.)
On August 14, 2009, this court issued an order in response to Defendant's assertion of his First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. (Doc. 42.) The court will not rehash those arguments here. Defendant has raised nothing new in his August 11, 2009 filing. While he vaguely asserts rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, he is not specific about the scope of his rights under those Amendments in this context. Invoking the Constitution of the United States is not some magical incantation that wards off all intrusion by the government, rather the Constitution embodies a set of rights that must be applied to specific contexts. Defendant has failed to state with any specificity how his Constitutional rights have been violated, and his motion will be denied.
III. Motion to Vacate Judge's Order and Reconsider
On August 31, 2009, Defendant filed a motion to vacate this court's August 14, 2009 order. The court will treat Defendant's motion as one 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.*fn2 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) (internal quotations 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, "[r]econsideration 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).
Defendant cites no basis for the court to reconsider its August 14, 2009 memorandum and order. Instead, Defendant attempts to reargue matters that have already been decided by this court. Most significantly, Defendant spends considerable time arguing that he was not properly served with initial process, and that Plaintiffs and this court violated other aspects of Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. The court has already decided that service was proper in this case in its order dated June 12, 2009. (Doc. 14.) In that order, the court adopted Plaintiffs' reasoning stated in their Brief in Opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss. (See Doc. 11.) The court also discussed these issues with Defendant at the first show cause hearing held on June 18, 2009. At that hearing, Defendant made an oral motion to dismiss the case based on lack of personal and subject ...