WILSON v. HAAS et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Noel L. Hillman on 8/4/2016. (tf, n.m.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
JAMES HAAS, et al.,
Civ. No. 11-7001 (NLH)
168 Frontage Road
Northern State Prison
Newark, NJ 07114
Appearing pro se
Robert P. Preuss
State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety
25 Market St.
P.O. Box 112
Trenton, NJ 08625
Counsel for defendants
HILLMAN, District Judge
Presently before the Court is the motion of plaintiff,
David Wilson, 1 for reconsideration of the Court’s various rulings
In January 2012, plaintiff filed his complaint pro se, but in
January 2013, plaintiff obtained counsel, who represented
plaintiff through post-trial motions. On February 4, 2016, the
Court granted counsel’s request to be relieved as counsel, a
request that plaintiff joined. Plaintiff is again appearing pro
se and has filed his current motion on his own behalf.
during the pendency of the case, which concerns plaintiff’s
claims arising out of an altercation with another inmate at
South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey on November
Plaintiff claims that his constitutional rights were
violated by the correctional officers who intervened in the
fight and the medical staff who treated him for his injuries.
After an initial screening of plaintiff’s complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and 42
U.S.C. § 1997e (Docket No. 13), and the consideration of
defendants’ motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 61), the
Court dismissed plaintiff’s equal protection, due process, and
deliberate indifference to medical need claims.
permitted plaintiff’s excessive force claim to proceed to trial.
After a five-day trial before a jury, on January 27, 2016, the
jury answered a set of special interrogatories to resolve
disputed facts relating to the correctional officers’ conduct
during the November 15, 2010 incident.
(Docket No. 100, 101.)
As a result of the jury’s answers to the interrogatories, the
Court granted defendants’ renewed motion for summary judgment
finding that under the facts found by the jury the defendants
were entitled to qualified immunity.
(Docket No. 103.)
Plaintiff has now filed a motion for reconsideration,
pursuant to Federal Civil Procedure Rules 59 and 60, to set
aside the Court’s decisions disposing of his due process,
deliberate indifference, and excessive force claims.
He requests that the Court reinstate all of those
claims and conduct a bench trial.
Plaintiff also argues that
several defense exhibits should not have been entered into
evidence, that the jury was not composed of his peers, and that
the jury interrogatories were too narrow. 2
Rule 59 provides, in relevant part,
(a) In General. (1) Grounds for New Trial. The court
may, on motion, grant a new trial on all or some of the
issues--and to any party--as follows: (A) after a jury
trial, for any reason for which a new trial has heretofore
been granted in an action at law in federal court . . .
(e) Motion to Alter or Amend a Judgment. A motion to
alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28
days after the entry of the judgment.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 59.
The purpose of a motion under Rule 59 is “‘to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d 666, 669 (3d Cir.
2010) (quoting Max's Seafood Café v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669,
677 (3d Cir. 1999)).
A proper Rule 59(e) motion therefore must
rely on one of three grounds: (1) an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3)
Plaintiff also states that an impending snow storm and a
defendant who “faked sick” had a strong impact on his case, both
of which warrant a new trial. Plaintiff further states that the
events of the November 2010 incident should be referred to the
FBI for investigation.
the need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest
Id. (citation omitted).
Rule 60(b) provides, in relevant part,
(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or
Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve
a party or its legal representative from a final judgment,
order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1)
mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;(2)
newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence,
could not have been discovered in time to move for a new
trial under Rule 59(b);(3) fraud (whether previously called
intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct
by an opposing party;(4) the judgment is void;(5) the
judgment has been satisfied, released or discharged; it is
based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or
vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer
equitable; or(6) any other reason that justifies relief.
(c) Timing and Effect
under Rule 60(b) must
for reasons (1), (2),
entry of the judgment
of the Motion. (1) Timing. A motion
be made within a reasonable time--and
and (3) no more than a year after the
or order or the date of the
Fed. R. Civ. P. 60.
Motions under Rule 60(b) “may not generally substitute for
Harris v. Martin, 834 F.2d 361, 364 (3d Cir. 1987)
Rather, relief under Rule 60(b) is
available only under such circumstances that the “overriding
interest in the finality and repose of judgments may properly be
Id. (citation omitted).
A Rule 60(b) motion “may
not be used as a substitute for an appeal, and that legal error,
without more” does not warrant relief under that provision.
United States v. Fiorelli, 337 F.3d at 288 (citation omitted).
After a thorough review and consideration of plaintiff’s
motion, the Court cannot grant any of plaintiff’s requests.
First, plaintiff presents his arguments collectively under both
Rule 59 and Rule 60, without specifying which rule supports
Although motions for reconsideration under
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 59 and 60 serve similar
functions, each has a particular purpose, and each has a
different filing deadline.
282, 288 (3d Cir. 2003).
United States v. Fiorelli, 337 F.3d
Even if the Court were to consider all
of plaintiff’s bases for relief to be timely under each rule, he
is required to identify which rule supports which argument so
that each rule’s particular purpose is met.
Second, all of plaintiff’s requests for relief simply
amount to disagreement with the Court’s decisions.
claims for violations of due process and deliberate indifference
to his serious medical need were comprehensively analyzed in the
Court’s prior Opinions.
Plaintiff’s concerns regarding the
admission of several defense exhibits, the composition of the
jury, and the wording of the jury interrogatories were all the
subject of argument and oral motions during trial.
for reconsideration cannot be used to relitigate old matters,
raise argument, or present evidence that could have been raised
prior to the entry of judgment.”
Boretsky v. Governor of New
Jersey, 433 F. App'x 73, 78 (3d Cir. 2011) (citation omitted).
Merely expressing disagreement with the Court’s decisions is
insufficient to warrant reconsideration.
Plaintiff states that “the 3rd Cir Court of Appeal has
something to say about all of what’s going on.”
(Docket No. 113
The Court agrees that plaintiff’s arguments in his
motion are more appropriately raised through the appellate
See Assisted Living Associates of Moorestown, L.L.C.,
v. Moorestown Tp., 996 F. Supp. 409, 442 (D.N.J. 1998) (citing
Bermingham v. Sony Corp. of America, Inc., 820 F. Supp. 834, 857
(D.N.J. 1992), aff'd, 37 F.3d 1485 (3d Cir. 1994) (“Where the
motion raises only a party's disagreement with a decision of the
court, that dispute should be dealt with in the normal appellate
Consequently, plaintiff’s motion for
reconsideration will be denied.
An appropriate Order will be entered.
__s/ Noel L. Hillman______
NOEL L. HILLMAN
United States District Judge
Date: August 4, 2016
At Camden, New Jersey
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?