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Rosa-Diaz v. Harry

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 16, 2018

GABRIEL ROSA-DIAZ, Plaintiff
v.
LAUREL HARRY, et al., Defendants.

          Rambo Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Factual Background

         This case comes before us on a motion to reconsider filed by the plaintiff, Gabriel Rosa-Diaz. (Doc. 65.) By way of background, this is a pro se civil rights case filed by Rosa-Diaz, a state prisoner who is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution, Smithfield, in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. In this case, Rosa-Diaz asserted claims against various Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”) officials (the “DOC Defendants”) and medical staff at the State Correctional Institution, Camp Hill (“SCI-Camp Hill”), where he was housed from April 2016 through June 2017. (Doc. 13, ¶¶ 5-27; Doc. 38.)

         In his initial 37-page, 208-paragraph complaint, filed on November 14, 2016, Rosa-Diaz alleged a variety of federal civil rights and state law claims against approximately 20 Defendants on behalf of both himself and another inmate. (Doc. 1.) Upon an initial screening review, this court recommended that the complaint be dismissed but that Rosa-Diaz be permitted to file an amended complaint asserting only the claims brought on his own behalf. (Doc. 7.) The District Court adopted this Report and Recommendation, and Rosa-Diaz filed the instant amended complaint on January 27, 2017. (Doc. 13.) In our second screening review of Rosa-Diaz's pleadings, we determined that his supervisory liability and certain Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claims should be dismissed but that the remaining Defendants should be served with the surviving claims in Rosa-Diaz's amended complaint. (Doc. 17.) The District Court adopted this second Report and Recommendation (Docs. 22 and 23), and counsel for the remaining Defendants waived service and entered their appearance in this matter. (Docs. 29 and 32.)

         We then considered two motions to dismiss the surviving claims in Rosa-Diaz's amended complaint. (Docs. 40 and 43.) On June 29, 2017, the first motion to dismiss was filed on behalf of the remaining Corrections Defendants: corrections officers (“COs”) Alianiello, Dempsey, Johnson, McBeth, Rost, and Walsh; corrections counselor Arnold; registered nurse psychologist Iachini; unit manager Digby; and business manager Gimble. (Doc. 40.) On July 6, 2017, the lone additional remaining Defendant, psychiatric certified registered nurse practitioner (“PCRNP”) A. Woods, also filed the other motion to dismiss. (Doc. 43.) Upon consideration, we recommended that all of the defendants and claims should be dismissed, with the exception of a due process claim against Defendants Dempsey and Rost relating solely to the alleged confiscation of “Curious Moments Archive of the Century.” (Doc. 59.) The district court adopted this Report and Recommendation and dismissed all of the claims with the exception of this single property confiscation claim. (Docs. 62 and 63.)

         Rosa-Diaz has now filed a motion to reconsider this decision. This motion has a certain enigmatic quality to it since it provides little by way of further argument or information relating to the dismissed claims beyond his assertion that he has complained about the conduct of Defendant Alianiello, coupled with an assertion this adverse ruling has upset him and left him feeling suicidal. (Id.) Regrettably, the plaintiff's subjective sense of disappointment with this ruling, while profound, does not provide legal grounds to reconsider this decision. Because nothing asserted in Rosa-Diaz's motion to reconsider meets the exacting legal standards for a motion to reconsider, this motion should be denied.

         II. Discussion

         A. Motion to Re-Consider-The Legal Standard

         The legal standards that govern motions to reconsider are both clear, and clearly compelling. “The purpose of a motion for reconsideration 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). Typically such a motion should only be granted in three, narrowly defined circumstances, where there is either: "(1) [an] intervening change in controlling law, (2) availability of new evidence not previously available, or (3) need to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice". Dodge v. Susquehanna Univ., 796 F.Supp. 829, 830 (M.D. Pa. 1992). As the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has aptly observed:

“The purpose of a motion for reconsideration ... is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Max's Seafood Café, 176 F.3d at 677 (quoting Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir.1985)). “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 granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.” Id. (citation omitted).

Howard Hess Dental Laboratories Inc. v. Dentsply Intern., Inc., 602 F.3d 237, 251 (3d Cir. 2010).

         Thus, it is well-settled that a mere disagreement with the court does not translate into the type of clear error of law which justifies reconsideration of a ruling. Dodge, 796 F.Supp. at 830. Furthermore, "[b]ecause 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). Moreover, it is evident that a motion for reconsideration is not a tool to re-litigate and reargue issues which have already been considered and disposed of by the court. Dodge, 796 F.Supp. at 830. Rather, such a motion is appropriate only where the court has misunderstood a party or where there has been a significant change in law or facts since the court originally ruled on that issue. See Above the Belt, Inc. v. Mel Bohannon Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D. Va. 1983).

         B. This Motion to ...


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