Best v. Barbarotta
MEMORANDUM & ORDER denying plaintiff's 8 Motion for Reconsideration. Ordered by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on 1/24/2013. (c/m to pro se) (Lee, Tiffeny)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rei.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
-againstANN MARIE BARBAROTTA, Director,
Creedmoor Psychiatric Center,
NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS, United States District Judge.
Before the court is Petitioner Hilary Best's motion for reconsideration of the court's
decision denying his motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO"). For the reasons set forth
below, Petitioner's motion is DENIED.
The court does not recite the entire history of this case, and sets forth only those facts that
are relevant to the instant motion.
On January 4, 2013, the court denied Petitioner's motion for a TRO releasing him from
the custody of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center ("Creedmoor"). (Jan. 4, 2013, Mem. & Order
(Dkt. 7) ("TRO Opinion").) The court concluded that because Petitioner was still litigating his
involuntary commitment in state court, which was adequate to assert his constitutional claim, it
had to abstain from issuing a TRO under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). (See TROOp.
On January 14,2013, Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the TRO Opinion.' He
claims that the court erred in at least three ways: (I) it misconstrued the facts that formed the
basis for Petitioner's involuntary admission, overlooking the fact that Petitioner is mentally
stable (Pet. Aff. ~~ 2, 4); (2) the court failed to appreciate that Defendants violated New York's
Mental Health and Penal Laws ilih ~~ 3, 5); and (3) the court misapplied Younger because
Defendants' violations of New York law "make the instant case an exception under Younger to
permit issuing a temporary restraining order or, alternatively, granting a federal writ of habeas
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The standard for a motion for reconsideration is "strict." Schrader v. CSX Transp .. Inc.,
70 F.3d 255,257 (2d Cir. 1995). Such motions may be granted: (I) if the court overlooks
critical facts; (2) if it overlooks controlling decisions that could have changed its decision, see
id.; (3) in light of an intervening change in controlling law; (4) in light of new evidence; (5) to
correct clear error; or (6) to prevent manifest injustice, see Virgin Atl. Airways v. Nat')
Mediation Bd., 965 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d. Cir. 1992); see also Rollins v. N.Y. State Div. of
Parole, No. 03-CV-5952 (NGG) (RLM), 2007 WL 539158, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2007) ("A
motion for reconsideration may be granted only if a court overlooked (1) factual matters that
were put before it on the underlying motion or (2) controlling legal authority."). "A motion for
reconsideration is 'not intended as a vehicle for a party dissatisfied with the Court's ruling to
advance new theories that the movant failed to advance in connection with the underlying motion
... (n]or ... a chance for a party to take a 'second bite at the apple."' WestLB AG v. BAC Fla.
Although Petitioner states that he meant to file his motion for a TRO in Best v. Schecter, No. 12-CV-6142
(E.D.N.Y.) (see Pet. Aff. (Ex. I to Recons. Mot. (Dkt. 8-1 ))),he filed this motion for reconsideration under this case
number. Rather than have Petitioner refile this motion in Best v. Schecter, for consistency and efficiency the court
decides Petitioner reconsideration motion in this case, where it was filed.
Bank, No. I I-CV-5398 (LTS) (AJP), 20I2 WL 4747I46, at *I (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 4, 20I2) (citations
omitted). However, "[i]t is within the sound discretion of the district court whether or not to
grant a motion for reconsideration." Markel Am. Ins. Co. v. Linhart, No.II-CV-5094 (SJF)
(GRB), 20I2 WL 5879I07, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. I6, 20I2).
Petitioner's arguments in favor of reconsideration all fail. First, Petitioner claims that the
court misconstrued the facts underlying his motion, including failing to recognize that Petitioner
is not mentally unstable and that the proffered reasons for his involuntary commitment were
inadequate. (See Pet. Aff. '1!'1!2, 4.) The court, however, did not make any factual
determinations, and expressed no opinion on the merits-it simply held that given the ongoing
state proceedings, which are adequate to adjudicate Petitioner's constitutional claims, the court
had to abstain from issuing a TRO. (See TRO Op~ at I, 3-6 ("Plaintiff has many judicial avenues
still available to him that can provide him with the relief he seeks; this particular path at this
particular time, however, is closed.").
Second, Plaintiff claims that the court failed to appreciate that during Petitioner's mental
competency proceedings in New York Criminal Court and his subsequent commitment to
Creedmoor, various New York State officials violated state law. (See Pet. Aff. '1!'1!3, 5.)
Petitioner is again mistaken. The court understood Petitioner's arguments, but because the
Younger requirements are met, it cannot entertain Petitioner's federal constitutional claims while
the state proceedings are ongoing. (See TRO Op. at 2, 3-6.) If appropriate, the court may later
evaluate the merits of Plaintiff's claims.
Finally, Petitioner asks this court to recognize an "exception" to the Younger doctrine
because he claims that the previous state proceedings were not done in accordance with New
York state law. (Pet. Aff.
6-7.) This, too, is insufficient. The court cannot and will not invent
an exception to Supreme Court doctrine. And Plaintiff claims only that the past state
proceedings were defective; this does not render any future hearings "inadequate" to adjudicate
his constitutional claim under Young;er.
For these reasons, Petitioner has not demonstrated any reason sufficient to warrant
reconsideration. His motion is therefore denied.
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration is DENIED.
s/Nicholas G. Garaufis
United States District Judge
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
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