United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO United States District Judge
October 24, 2016, Petitioner, Ronald Frank, an inmate at the
State Correctional Institution at Albion, Albion,
Pennsylvania, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. 1.) Frank
paid the $5.00 filing fee. On December 13, 2016, the petition
was given preliminary consideration pursuant to Rule 4 of the
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. foll. §
2254 and dismissed as untimely filed. On December 28, 2016,
Frank filed a motion for reconsideration. (Doc. 11.) For the
reasons set forth below the motion will be denied.
motion for reconsideration is a device of limited utility. It
may be used only to seek remediation for manifest errors of
law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence which, if
discovered previously, might have affected the court's
decision. Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906
(3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1171 (1986);
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Maitland,
Civil No. 87-0827 (M.D. Pa. March 1, 1989) (Rambo, J.).
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 granted the motion; or (3) the need to correct a clear
error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.
Max's Seafood Café v. Quineros, 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 “...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.” See
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 Casualty Co. v. Diversified
Indus. Inc., 884 F.Supp. 937, 943 (E.D. Pa. 1995).
court's reasons for finding that the petition was
untimely filed were set forth in a 5-page memorandum and the
court incorporates herein by reference those reasons. (Doc.
noted in the memorandum Frank was sentence on August 3, 2010.
Frank did take a direct appeal which was decided on March 25,
2011, and the time for seeking further review expired on
April 25, 2011. The period of time which elapsed from the
deadline of April 25, 2011, for Frank to seek direct review
in the Supreme Court until Frank filed his PCRA petition on
April 17, 2014, is well in excess of 1 year. Frank has
presented no evidence which would justify the delay of almost
two years beyond the one-year statute of limitations before
filing a habeas petition in this court. He does not give any
indication when and how he inquired regarding the disposition
of his direct appeal or an explanation for his failure to
inquire of his attorney regarding that appeal. Other than a
conclusory allegation that he was unaware that his direct
appeal became final on April 25, 2011, he has offered nothing
which would justify the equitable tolling of the statute of
limitations for almost two years. He clearly has not
demonstrated that he pursued his rights diligently or that
some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and
prevented him from timely filing a petition with this
court. Consequently, Frank's habeas petition
filed on October 24, 2016, was untimely filed.
has failed to set forth any reasons which would justify the
court reconsidering its finding that Frank's petition was
untimely filed. Frank's motion for reconsideration fails
to demonstrate that there has been an intervening change in
the law, that there is newly discovered evidence, or that
there has been a clear error of law or manifest injustice
committed. Thus, the Court finds that its memorandum and
order of December 13, 2016, is not defective because of
manifest errors of law or fact and Frank has not presented
anything new, which if previously presented, might have
affected our decision. Consequently, the motions for
reconsideration will be denied.
appropriate order will be entered.
The one-year filing requirement is a
statute of limitations, not a jurisdictional rule, and thus a
habeas petition should not be dismissed as untimely filed if
there exists an equitable basis for tolling the limitations
period. Merritt v. Blaine, 326 F.3d 157, 161 (3d
Cir. 2003). In Merritt, the Court of Appeals set
forth two general requirements for equitable tolling:
“(1) that the petitioner has in some extraordinary way
been prevented from asserting his or her rights; and (2) that
the petitioner has shown that he or she ...