ARUANNO v. MARCYVES et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge William J. Martini on 10/13/16. (gh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 14-4796 (WJM)
C/O MAURICE MARCYVES, et al.,
Plaintiff Joseph Aruanno filed this civil rights action against several corrections
officers (“Defendants”). This matter is now before the Court on Plaintiff’s appeal of
Magistrate Judge Falk’s August 24, 2016 Order denying reconsideration of Plaintiff’s
motion for appointment of pro bono counsel. There was no oral argument. Fed. R. Civ.
P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s appeal is DENIED, and Judge Falk’s
August 24, 2016 Order is AFFIRMED.
In July 2014, Plaintiff filed this pro se civil rights action, alleging, inter alia, that
Defendants assaulted him. ECF doc. 1. Plaintiff subsequently moved for appointment of
pro bono counsel. ECF doc. 18. In March 2016, Magistrate Judge Falk denied Plaintiff’s
motion because he failed to satisfy the factors set forth in Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153
(3d Cir. 1993). ECF doc. 19. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration of this Order, arguing
that Judge Falk erred in applying the relevant legal standards. ECF doc. 23. In August
2016, Judge Falk denied Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of this order, stating that the
previous order was carefully decided using the Tabron factors. ECF doc. 20.
Plaintiff now appeals Judge Falk’s August 2016 Order denying reconsideration.
ECF doc. 21. Plaintiff argues that Judge Falk erred in denying reconsideration because
Judge Falk: (1) failed to “apply the correct standard”; and (2) failed to consider the “new
evidence” warranting reconsideration: a 2009 mandate from the Third Circuit appointing
Plaintiff pro bono counsel for the purpose of filing his habeas corpus petition. See Aruanno
v. Goodwin, et al. No. 07-cv-5205, ECF doc. 20 (7/15/2009 Order).
A district court may reverse a magistrate judge’s order if it finds the ruling to be
clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a);
L. Civ. R. 72.1(c)(1)(A). A finding is considered “clearly erroneous” when, “although there
is evidence to support it, the reviewing body on the entire evidence is left with the definite
and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. Waterman, 755
F.3d 171, 174 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal citations omitted). A decision is considered contrary
to the law if the magistrate judge has “misinterpreted or misapplied applicable law.” Doe
v. Hartford Life Acc. Ins. Co., 237 F.R.D. 545, 548 (D.N.J. 2006).
Plaintiff’s claims on appeal are unavailing.
First, Judge Falk applied the correct legal standards in denying both the appointment
of counsel motion and the reconsideration motion. In his March 2016 decision, Judge Falk
explicitly weighed the Tabron factors, and determined that Plaintiff was capable of
presenting his own case. In August 2016, Judge Falk correctly considered Local Rule 7.1
in denying reconsideration of the March 2016 order, explaining that Plaintiff had failed to
meet that Rule’s high burden.
Second, Judge Falk did not err in failing to take into account, upon reconsideration,
that Plaintiff had been appointed counsel in the past. This fact was not “new evidence”
under Local Rule 7.1 – Plaintiff already made this point in his initial motion for
appointment of counsel and, in any case, a 2009 order cannot be deemed “new evidence”
for purposes of reconsideration. Furthermore, the Court notes that Plaintiff is no stranger
to the court system: he has proceeded in forma pauperis in more than 40 cases before this
Court, and in more than 45 cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The fact that
Plaintiff has been appointed pro bono counsel to assist with his habeas corpus petition is
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s appeal is DENIED, and Judge Falk’s August
24, 2016 Order is AFFIRMED. An appropriate Order follows.
/s/ William J. Martini
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
Date: October 13, 2016
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