United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
SCOTT J. NJOS, Petitioner,
WARDEN THOMAS, Respondent.
the Court for disposition is Respondent's Motion for
Reconsideration (Doc. 96) of this Court's December 9,
2016 Order (Doc. 95), Petitioner's Motion for Costs (Doc.
98), and Objections (Doc. 101) to this Court's December
9, 2016 Order (Doc. 95).
provide a brief procedural background for the parties. On
June 27, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. 87) on
Petitioner's amended habeas petition (Doc. 57). After a
brief stay of proceedings (Doc. 92) was lifted (Doc. 94),
this Court issued the December 9, 2016 Order (Doc. 95),
adopting in part and denying in part, the Magistrate Judges
Recommendation. In our Order, we granted Petitioner's
writ of habeas corpus to the extent that the Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”) has not considered, in good
faith, the 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) factors in its exercise
of discretion in Petitioner's prison transfers.
December 23, 2016, Respondents filed a motion for
reconsideration and brief in support (Docs. 96 and 97),
asking this Court to reconsider our December 9, 2016 Order.
Then, on December 28, 2016, Petitioner simultaneously filed a
motion for costs, court fees and calculated interest (Doc.
98), a document styled “objections” (Doc. 101) to
the Order, and finally, an appeal (Doc. 102). These matters
are now ripe for disposition, and we address each in turn.
Respondent's Motion For Reconsideration
brings its current motion for reconsideration pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 59(e). Respondent
argues that the Court has made an error of fact because the
Court's December 9, 2016 Order came after Petitioner was
already transferred from Lewisburg SMU (Special Management
Units) to the United States Penitentiary Florence
Administrative Maximum Facility (USP Florence ADMAX), in
Colorado. Therefore, Respondent contends that the issue
Petitioner complains of is moot because he is no longer
imprisoned at Lewisburg SMU.
scope of a motion under Rule 59(e) “is extremely
limited.” Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 415
(3d Cir. 2011). 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 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 presented to the court in the context of
the matter previously decided. Drysdale v. Woerth,
153 F.Supp.2d 678, 682 (E.D. Pa. 2001). “Because
federal courts have a strong interest in the finality of
judgments, motions for reconsideration should be granted
sparingly.” Continental Cas. Co. v. Diversified
Indus., Inc., 884 F.Supp. 937, 943 (E.D. Pa. 1995).
not agree with Respondent's contention that simply
because Petitioner has subsequently been transferred to
another prison after his filing of his habeas petition, that
his petition is moot. When Petitioner filed his petition, he
was incarcerated at Lewisbrug SMU, a federal prison within
the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Jurisdiction attached on
that initial filing for habeas corpus relief, and it was not
destroyed by the transfer of Petitioner. See McClure v.
Hopper, 577 F.2d 938, 939-40 (5th Cir. 1978); Jones
v. Cunningham, 371 U.S. 236, 243-44 (1963); Ex parte
Catanzaro, 138 F.2d 100, 101 (3d Cir. 1943) (“[W]e
do not believe that passing about of the body of a prisoner
from one custodian to another after a writ of habeas corpus
has been applied for can defeat the jurisdiction of the Court
to grant or refuse the writ on the merits of the
the basis of Petitioner's argument is that the BOP failed
to consider the 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) factors, including
the sentencing judge's recommendation, in each of his
prison transfers. Thus, his petition is not limited merely to
Lewisburg SMU. Accordingly, since Respondent's motion
does not set forth any intervening change in the controlling
law, produce any evidence which was not previously in
existence and available to it, or prove that altering or
amending the judgment is necessary to correct a clear error
of law or fact, we will deny the motion.
turn to what Petitioner styles “Objections”
pursuant to Rule 46 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
(Doc. 101) to the December 9, 2016 Order (Doc. 95). However,
Rule 46 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is not a
vehicle for raising post judgment challenges. Rather, the
rule codifies the common practice of requiring a party to
raise timely objections during trial and other trial-like
proceedings to challenge:
an extremely wide range of judicial rulings on evidence,
including the formulation of the issues for trial, the
content of various arguments of counsel for either side, the
submission of the case to the jury, the interrogation and
qualification of prospective jurors, and all of ...