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Ryan v. United States

November 22, 2010

MICHAEL G. RYAN, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Pending before the Court is Petitioner Michael G. Ryan's ("Petitioner" or "Ryan") Motion for Reconsideration ("Motion") filed on September 24, 2010 (Doc. 11), moving the Court to reconsider our dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Docs. 7 and 8). For the reasons that follow, the Motion shall be denied.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The purpose of a Rule 59(e) motion is "to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Max's Seafood Café v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (quoting Harsco Corp. V. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1171 (1986)). "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 ruled on the previous motion; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Id. (citing North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)).

"Reconsideration of judgment is an extraordinary remedy; therefore, such motions are to be granted sparingly." D'Angio v. Borough of Nescopeck, 56 F.Supp. 2d 502, 504 (M.D. Pa. 1999). A motion for reconsideration is appropriate in instances when the court "has made an error not of reasoning, but of apprehension," and a court "must not grant reconsideration when the motion is simply a re-styling or rehashing of issues previously presented." Pahler v. City of Wilkes-Barre, 207 F.Supp. 2d 341, 355 (M.D. Pa. 2001) (internal citations omitted). "Mere disagreement with the court is a ground for appeal, not a motion for reconsideration." Id. (quoting McConocha v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield Mutual of Ohio, 930 F.Supp.1182, 1184 (N.D. Ohio 1996)). Further, motions for reconsideration cannot be used by a party to re-litigate or rehash legal principles and arguments already presented to and rejected by the court, nor may they present additional arguments which could or should have been raised before judgment was entered. See Bhatnagar v. Surrenda Overseas Ltd., 52 F.3d 1220 (3d Cir. 1995) (for the proposition that motions for reconsideration cannot be used to gain a "second bite" at the apple).

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY/FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn1

On March 20, 1995, in the context of a federal criminal prosecution, Ryan executed a plea agreement with the United States government, which provided, inter alia, for the terms of the guilty plea to exclude the costs of prosecution, imprisonment, probation, or the supervised release order. On April 4, 1995, Ryan entered his guilty plea contingent on the condition that he sign an additional plea document, which incorporated portions of the original plea agreement. However, in order to induce Ryan to proceed with his guilty plea, certain portions of the document, which related to the costs of prosecution, imprisonment, probation, or the supervised release order, were redacted so that the new document was in accordance with the original plea agreement. Both parties initialed the excluded lines in acknowledgment that the alterations would constitute the final agreement upon which Ryan's plea was based. On July 6, 1995, Ryan was committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prison ("BOP") pursuant to the terms of the agreed upon sentence.

On March 18, 2010, Ryan was summoned to appear before an evaluation team of the BOP where he was advised that he had been recommended for Residential Re-entry Center ("RRC") placement. Ryan alleges that he was required to sign a Community Based Program ("CBP") Agreement to implement the placement. However, prior to signing, Ryan requested and received a copy of the CBP Agreement and was granted time to review the terms. Thereafter, on March 31, 2010, Ryan refused to sign the CBP Agreement, contesting that the Agreement's requirement that he contribute to the residency cost conflicted with his 1995 plea agreement, which had expressly excluded provisions requiring Ryan to pay for his imprisonment costs.

On May 11, 2010, Ryan alleges that he was summoned for a disciplinary hearing where it was determined that his refusal to sign the CBP Agreement had violated BOP Code 306, resulting in the loss of his prison job for one year. As a result, on July 7, 2010, Ryan filed, pro se, the instant action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, alleging breach of his plea agreement and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1).

On August 4, 2010, after undertaking a preliminary review of the matter, Magistrate Judge Blewitt issued an R&R (Doc. 5), which recommended that Ryan's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus*fn2 be summarily dismissed (Doc. 1) and that his in forma pauperis Motion (Doc. 2) be denied on the grounds that Ryan had available resources to pay the requisite habeas petition filing fee.

On August 31, 2010, we dismissed Ryan's habeas petition through adoption of Magistrate Judge Blewitt's R&R*fn3 on the grounds that Ryan failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Further, we denied Ryan's in forma pauperis Motion and directed the Clerk of Court to close this case. (Docs. 7 and 8). Thereafter, on September 24, 2010, Ryan filed the instant Motion, seeking to have us reconsider our Order dismissing his habeas petition. Although the time to do has since passed, Petitioner did not file a brief in support, and Respondent did not file a response. Accordingly, this Motion is ripe for disposition.

III. DISCUSSION

As outlined above, we previously dismissed Petitioner's habeas petition, finding that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. We stated in our ...


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