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Johnson v. Koehler

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 21, 2017

ARMONIMASUD JOHNSON, Plaintiff
v.
WALTER KOEHLER, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          ROBERT D. MARLANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs "Petition for Reconsideration En Banc and or Appeal" (Doc. 46).

         On July 24, 2017, Defendants Walter Koehler, Christopher O'Brien, and Christopher Lamb filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint (Doc. 37). Plaintiff Armoni Johnson thereafter filed a Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 43).

         On October 6, 2017, Magistrate Judge Carlson issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 44) recommending that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss be granted. On October 27, 2017, having received no objections, the Court reviewed the Magistrate Judge's R&R for clear error or manifest injustice, adopted the R&R in its entirety, and ordered that the case be closed (Doc. 45).

         On November 15, 2017, the Clerk of Court filed a document from Plaintiff entitled "Petition for Reconsideration En Banc and or Appeal" (Doc. 46). The "Petition" and supporting brief request that the Court's Order "dismissing plaintiff complaint [sic] and granting defendants motion to dismiss be vacated and action [sic] be reopened back up and litigated on its merits as law and justice requires." (Doc. 46, at 4). Defendants thereafter filed a brief in opposition to Plaintiff's motion. (Doc. 47).

         Assuming that Plaintiff's motion is brought pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59, Plaintiffs motion is timely. Pursuant to Rule 59, "a motion to alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of judgment." Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e).[1]

         A Court may alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), which is otherwise known as a motion for reconsideration. See Keifer v. Reinhart Foodservices, LLC, 563 Fed.Appx. 112, 114 (3d Cir. 2014). A motion to alter or amend "must rely on one of three major grounds: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence not available previously; or (3) the need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." North River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995) (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted). Cf. Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (setting forth the three grounds on which a motion for reconsideration may be granted). However, "motions for reconsideration should not be used to put forward arguments which the movant... could have made but neglected to make before judgment." United States v. Jasin, 292 F.Supp.2d 670, 677 (E.D. Pa. 2003) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted) (quoting Reich v. Compton, 834 F.Supp.2d 753, 755 (E.D. Pa. 1993) rev'd in part and aff'd in part on other grounds, 57 F.3d 270 (3d Cir. 1995)).

         Plaintiffs motion and supporting brief address the merits of the R&R and this Court therefore deems them to consist of Objections to the R&R, requesting reconsideration of this Court's adoption of the Magistrate Judge's findings and/or that the Court alter or amend the judgment, based on Plaintiffs newly submitted arguments.

         Preliminarily, the Court is unconvinced by Plaintiffs assertion that he never received a copy of Magistrate Judge Carlson's R&R (see Doc. 46, at 1). Plaintiff received every other document, including this Court's Order adopting the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, as evidenced by Plaintiffs present motion for reconsideration. Further, there is nothing on the record to indicate that Plaintiff did not receive the R&R. Nonetheless, even giving Plaintiff every benefit of the doubt, his present Objections and request for reconsideration fail to raise any new or persuasive argument, nor do they meet the requisite standard for a motion for reconsideration.[2]

         Here, Plaintiff is not asserting an intervening change in controlling law or the availability of new evidence that was not previously available. Rather, liberally construing Plaintiffs motion and giving him every reasonable inference, it appears that Plaintiff's motion rests on "the need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice." The Court must reject this assertion.

         First, Plaintiff's motion and supporting brief fail to raise any new legal or factual issues not previously raised in his brief in opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (see Doc. 43) and, to the extent relevant, addressed in the R&R. See Donegan v. Livingston, 877 F.Supp.2d 212, 226 (M.D. Pa. 2012) (a motion for reconsideration should not "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." (quoting Ogden v. Keystone Residence, 226 F.Supp.2d 588, 606 (M.D. Pa. 2002)).

         Second, much of the law cited by Plaintiff is irrelevant to the current claims and issues in this action. To the extent that some of the case law is applicable, the law set forth in those cases, if not those cases themselves, has been addressed by the Magistrate Judge in the R&R.

         Finally, and crucially, for the reasons set forth in the R&R and adopted by this Court, Plaintiffs action fails on several fronts. As this Court noted in its Order adopting the R&R, "Plaintiffs attempt to raise these issues via a proceeding brought pursuant to § 1983 is unavailing and the Magistrate Judge's determination on this issue alone resolves this matter." (Doc. 45, at n.1). In addition to the fact that Plaintiffs action is incorrectly brought pursuant to § 1983, the Magistrate Judge set forth several other bases for his recommendation that the Motion to Dismiss should be granted, which the Court also adopted. As such, there is no manifest injustice in this Court's grant of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and direction to close the case.

         For the foregoing reasons, upon consideration of Plaintiffs "Petition for Reconsideration En Banc and or Appeal" (Doc. 46), the Court will deny Plaintiffs ...


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