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Staten v. Lackawanna County

June 15, 2010

SHAKIRA STATEN, INDIVIDUALLY AND SHAKIRA STATEN, NATURAL MOTHER OF SAMIYAH STATEN, A MINOR, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
LACKAWANNA COUNTY, ET. AL. DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

BACKGROUND

On July 23, 2007, Shakira Staten, individually and as the natural mother of Samiyah Staten, a minor, initiated this lawsuit, through counsel, by the filing of a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants: 1) Lackawanna County; 2) Lackawanna County Prison; 3) Warden Janin Donate; 4) Corrections Office John Doe; 5) Corrections Officer Jane Doe One; 6) Corrections Officer Jane Doe Two; 7) Correction Care, Inc.; 8) Dr. Edward Zaloga*fn1 ; and 9) Nurse Jane Doe. Plaintiff alleges that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of both herself and her child with respect to the child's birth in a cell at the Lackawanna County Prison.

On February 1, 2010, defendant Correctional Care, Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment and a separate statement of material facts. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 70 and 71). It filed a supporting brief February 11, 2010. (Rec. Doc. No. 94). Plaintiff's opposing brief was due February 28, 2010. Neither an opposing brief nor a responsive statement of material facts was filed by plaintiff. Correctional Care, Inc. filed a supplemental motion and brief to its motion for summary judgment asserting that its summary judgment motion should be deemed to be unopposed and granted pursuant to Middle District Local Rule 7.6. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 97 and 98).

On February 1, 2010, defendant Nurse Jane Doe filed a motion for summary judgment, supporting brief and a separate statement of material facts. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 72, 81 and 82). Plaintiff's opposing brief was due February 18, 2009. Neither an opposing brief nor a responsive statement of material facts was filed by plaintiff. Nurse Jane Doe filed a supplemental motion and brief to her motion for summary judgment asserting that her summary judgment motion should be deemed to be unopposed and granted pursuant to Middle District Local Rule 7.6. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 99 and 100).

On February 8, 2010, defendants Lackawanna County, Lackawanna County Prison, Warden Janine Donate, Corrections Officer John Doe, and Correction Officers Jane Doe 1 and 2 filed a motion for summary judgment and a separate statement of material facts. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 91 and 92). They filed a supporting brief on February 22, 2010. (Rec. Doc. No. 96). Plaintiff's opposing brief was due March 11, 2010. Neither an opposing brief nor a responsive statement of material facts was filed by plaintiff.

On March 11, 2010, plaintiff filed a motion to extend time to respond to the motions for summary judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 103). Both Correctional Care, Inc. and Nurse Jane Doe filed oppositions to the motion. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 104 and 105).

We refused to grant the supplemental motions for summary judgment requesting that the court grant summary judgment based on plaintiff's failure to file timely opposing briefs. Additionally, although plaintiff's motion for extension of time was filed well after the date opposing briefs were due, on March 15, 2010, we granted plaintiff's motion for an extension and allowed fourteen days to file opposing briefs and separate statements of material facts to each motion for summary judgment. In our March 15th order, we warned plaintiff that if plaintiff did not comply with that order, the case would be dismissed.

Plaintiff's opposing briefs and statements of material facts were due March 29, 2010. Plaintiff did not file opposing briefs and statements of material facts opposing the three motions for summary judgment. On March 30, 2010, defendants Correction Care, Inc. and Nurse Jane Doe filed separate motions to dismiss for plaintiff's failure to comply with our March 15th order. (Rec. Doc. No. 109 and 110). Because plaintiff did not file opposing briefs and separate statements of material facts and failed to comply with our March 15th order, on April 2, 2010 we granted the motions to dismiss and entered final judgment in favor of all defendants. (Rec. Doc. No. 108 Accordingly, we denied the motions for summary judgment as moot. (Id).

On April 5, 2010, plaintiff filed a "Motion to Open and/or for Reconsideration of Motions for Summary Judgment and Enlargement of Time to File Memorandum." (Rec. Doc. No. 114). Plaintiff did not file a supporting brief as required by Middle District Local Rule 7.10. The respective defendants filed responses and opposing briefs. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 115, 116, 117, 119, 121 and 122). Plaintiff did not file a reply brief.

Now, for the following reasons, we will grant plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. However, on reconsideration, our prior decision stands, and final judgment will not be vacated.

DISCUSSION

Middle District Local Rule 7.10 requires motions for reconsideration to be "accompanied by a supporting brief and filed within fourteen (14) days after the entry of the order concerned." M.D. Pa. L.R. 7.10. Local Rule 7.5 states that if the supporting brief is not timely filed, "the motion shall be deemed to be withdrawn." M.D. Pa. L. R. 7.5. We should, as defendants suggest, deem the motion for consideration to be withdrawn. Nevertheless, we will proceed to consider the motion on its merits.

A motion for reconsideration is a device of limited utility. Its purpose 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 party seeking reconsideration must demonstrate at least one of the following grounds prior to the court's altering, or amending, a standing judgment: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court entered judgment; 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) (citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)). A motion for reconsideration is appropriate in instances where the court has "patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension." Rohrbach v. AT & T Nassau Metals Corp., 902 F.Supp. 523, 527 (M.D. Pa. 1995), vacated in part on other grounds on reconsideration, 915 F.Supp. 712 (M.D. Pa. 1996) (quoting Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D.Va.1983)). It may not be used as a means to reargue unsuccessful theories, or argue new facts or issues that were not ...


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