LOVE v. NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al
LETTER OPINION. Signed by Judge Susan D. Wigenton on 5/1/17. (sr, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
MARTIN LUTHER KING COURTHOUSE
50 WALNUT ST.
NEWARK, NJ 07101
SUSAN D. WIGENTON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
May 1, 2017
East Jersey State Prison
Lock Bag R
Rahway, NJ 07065
Pro Se Plaintiff
Benjamin H. Zieman, Esq.
Christopher J. Kelly, Esq.
Christopher J. Riggs, Esq.
State of New Jersey
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Law and Public Safety
25 Market Street
P.O. Box 116
Trenton, NJ 08625
Counsel for Defendants
LETTER OPINION FILED WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT
Love v. New Jersey Department of Corrections, et al.
Civil Action No. 15-3681 (SDW) (SCM)
Before this Court is Plaintiff Lemont Love’s (“Plaintiff” or “Love”) “Motion for Leave to
File an Objection” to Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion’s March 7, 2017 Letter Opinion and
Order (“March 7th Decision”) denying Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and his second motion
for leave to file an amended complaint. (ECF Docket Entry Nos. 38, 39.) This Court treats
Plaintiff’s filing as an appeal of Magistrate Judge Mannion’s decision.
This Court having considered the parties’ submissions and having reached its decision
without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78, and for the reasons
discussed below, affirms the Magistrate Judge’s decision.
A. Standard of Review for Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s Order
Magistrate judges may hear non-dispositive motions under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a). A district court may reverse a magistrate judge’s
determination of a non-dispositive motion only where it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Haines v. Liggett Grp. Inc., 975 F.2d 81, 83 (3d Cir. 1992). A ruling is
clearly erroneous “when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire
evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Dome
Petroleum Ltd. v. Emp’rs Mut. Liab. Ins. Co., 131 F.R.D. 63, 65 (D.N.J. 1990) (quoting United
States v. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)) (internal quotations omitted). “A district judge’s
simple disagreement with the magistrate judge’s findings is insufficient to meet the clearly
erroneous standard of review.” Andrews v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 191 F.R.D. 59, 68
(D.N.J. 2000). An order is contrary to law “when the magistrate judge has misinterpreted or
misapplied the applicable law.” Doe v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 237 F.R.D. 545, 548
(D.N.J. 2006). This Court conducts a de novo review of legal conclusions. Cooper Hosp./Univ.
Med. Ctr. v. Sullivan, 183 F.R.D. 119, 127 (D.N.J. 1998) (citations omitted).
B. The Magistrate Judge’s March 7, 2017 Order is Neither Clearly Erroneous Nor
Contrary to Law
The March 7th Decision properly stated the standard of review for a motion for
reconsideration and found that Plaintiff had failed to cite a change of law, present evidence of
mail tampering that was not available when the Magistrate Judge rendered his initial decision, or
identify a clear error of law or fact. (ECF Dkt. Entry No. 38 at 3.) Therefore, Magistrate Judge
Mannion properly denied Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration. This Court does not find that the
Magistrate Judge’s decision was clearly erroneous or contrary to law, and will, therefore, affirm
As for Plaintiff’s second motion to amend his complaint, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(a) provides that leave to amend shall “be freely given as justice so requires.” Here,
Magistrate Judge Mannion found that Plaintiff’s request to amend his complaint was made “over
one year after the Court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss his initial complaint and closed
this case” and that Plaintiff was seeking to “add new defendants and factual allegations in
support of a claim for malicious prosecution that appears unrelated to this case.” (ECF Dkt.
Entry No. 38 at 4-5.) On that basis, Magistrate Judge Mannion held that amendment would be
unduly prejudicial to Defendants. Id. This Court agrees and will affirm Magistrate Judge
Mannion’s denial of Plaintiff’s second motion to amend.
For the reasons set forth above, Magistrate Judge Mannion’s March 7, 2017 Letter Opinion
is AFFIRMED. An appropriate order follows.
___/s/ Susan D. Wigenton_____
SUSAN D. WIGENTON, U.S.D.J.
Steven C. Mannion, U.S.M.J.
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