Sloan v. Chambers et al
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry).Signed by Honorable A. Richard Caputo on 9/13/17. (dw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CO WERTZ, et al.,
CIVIL NO. 3:CV-12-1954
Presently before the Court are four motions filed by Mr. Sloan. The first seeks
reconsideration of several of this Court’s prior orders: (1) the August 11, 2016 Order (ECF
No. 95) granting Defendants’ partial summary judgment; (2) the September 8, 2016 Order
denying his motion for a continuance (ECF No. 98); and (3) the October 28, 2016 Order
denying his first motion for reconsideration of the Court’s order granting Defendants’ partial
motion for summary judgment due to his failure to file a supporting brief (ECF No. 106).
See ECF No. 108. Mr. Sloan’s second and third motions seek a continuance in this matter
based on his lack of access to adequate legal research opportunities and sufficient blank
paper. (ECF Nos. 110 and 112.) Mr. Sloan’s fourth motion seeks, inter alia, to be relieved
of the obligation to file single-sided documents and permission to cite to unpublished
opinions without attaching copies of the opinion to his filings.
For the reasons that follow, Mr. Sloan’s motions will be granted in part and denied in
On October 1, 2012, Aaron Sloan, an inmate presently housed at SCI-Greene, filed
a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging various violations of his constitutional
rights while housed at SCI-Camp Hill.
On August 11, 2016, the Court entered partial
summary judgment in favor of all Defendants except Nurse McGinnis. (ECF Nos. 94 – 95.)
Mr. Sloan was directed to file an amended complaint as to his claims against Nurse
McGinnis. Mr. Sloan filed his Amended Complaint against Nurse McGinnis on September
22, 2016. (ECF No. 101). Defendant McGinnis moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint.
(ECF No. 109.) Mr. Sloan has not filed a brief in opposition to Defendant McGinnis’ motion.
Motion for Reconsideration
Mr. Sloan asks the Court to reconsider various rulings, all of which are interlocutory
See Foulk v. Donjon Marine Co., 144 F.3d 242, 255 (3d Cir. 1998).
standard of review for reconsideration of an interlocutory order is different than the
standard of review of reconsideration of a final order or judgment.
A motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final order, which courts generally
interpret as a motion to alter or amend judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e) or for relief from a final judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 60(b), requires the
showing of one of three grounds: “(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence that was not available when the court [issued the underlying
order]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.”
Astrazeneca v. Pharma. L.P. 769 F.3d 837, 848 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Max’s Seafood
Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999)).
Reconsideration of an interlocutory order, however, is more properly considered
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b), and is appropriate whenever justice so requires. See
State Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Cty of Camden, 824 F.3d 399, 406, & n. 14 (3d Cir. 2016) (citing
United States v. Jerry, 487 F.2d 600, 605 (3d Cir. 1973) (“[S]o long as the district court has
jurisdiction over the case, it possess inherent power over interlocutory orders, and can
reconsider them when it is consonant with justice to do so.”)).
In this case Mr. Sloan did not file a brief in support of his motion for relief. He cites
no facts or rationale to support his motion. Accordingly, the Court will deny his motion for
relief (ECF No. 108) without prejudice. Mr. Sloan will not be prejudice by this decision as
the action is still pending.
Motions for a Continuance
In both of Mr. Sloan’s motions for a continuance he argues that he is unable to
proceed in this action because he has been denied adequate access to legal research
materials and sufficient paper to file briefs in support of his pending motions. (ECF Nos.
110 and 112.) Mr. Sloan argues that he has labored under these conditions since his
November 24, 2015 transfer to his present institution, SCI-Greene.
Plaintiff’s motions for a continuance will be denied as he submits no evidence to
suggest that he is unable to file briefs in support of his various motions, or that prison
officials are preventing him from filing briefs in support of his motions, or that he is unable
to seek enlargements of time that would allow him to compensate for any delay in obtaining
sufficient paper or research time to comply with his filing obligations. Since his transfer to
SCI-Greene, Mr. Sloan has filed amended pleadings and briefs in this case and others
before this Court and the Western District of Pennsylvania. His filings demonstrate his
access to postage, legal research materials and paper.
Mr. Sloan has not provided
sufficient reason to further delay the progress of this case.
Motion for Relief
On January 10, 2017, Mr. Sloan filed a motion for relief and supporting brief. (ECF
Nos. 113 and 114.) He seeks permission to file double-sided documents and relieved of
the obligation of supplying copies of unpublished opinions in connection with his briefs.
(ECF Nos. 113 and 114.) His motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
His request to file double sided documents will be denied. Mr. Sloan cites difficulties
in obtaining sufficient quantities of blank paper and postage. (ECF No. 114.) The Court is
aware that Mr. Sloan is litigating several actions before this Court and the United States
Western District of Pennsylvania. The dockets in his cases before this case demonstrate
continuous filings by Mr. Sloan since his transfer to SCI-Greene.
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has policies concerning the provision of paper and
legal postage for indigent inmates. The Court will not circumvent the DOC’s practices on
these matters without sufficient cause.
If Mr. Sloan needs additional time to file an
opposition or supporting brief, he should file a motion for enlargement of time. Also, a
review of his brief in support of this motion, and his other filings before the Court, reveal
reliance on various legal opinions demonstrating his access to legal research materials.
However, if Mr. Sloan needs additional time to conduct his legal research, he need simply
seek an enlargement of time explaining his reasons.
As for Mr. Sloan’s request to be relieved of his obligation to comply with Middle
District Local Rule 7.8 which requires “[a] copy of any unpublished opinion which is cited
must accompany the brief as an attachment,” his request will be granted. However, Mr.
Sloan in cautioned that if he fails to provide the proper citation for an unpublished case
upon which he relies, the Court will not consider it.
Defendant McGinnis’ Pending Motion to Dismiss
To date, Mr. Sloan has not filed a brief in opposition to Defendant McGinnis’ motion
to dismiss. Having resolved all other pending motions in this matter, Mr. Sloan will be
granted a sua sponte enlargement of time to file his opposition brief. Mr. Sloan may file a
brief in opposition to Defendant’s motion to dismiss on or before October 13, 2017.
An appropriate order follows.
/s/ A. Richard Caputo
A. RICHARD CAPUTO
United States District Judge
DATE: September 13, 2017
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