United States District Court, D. New Jersey
August 15, 2005.
TOSIN ADEGBUJI, Plaintiff,
FIFTEEN IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT AGENTS, (in their individual and official capacities), Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN BISSELL, Chief Judge, District
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration of this Court's Order and Opinion entered on
January 10, 2005.
On April 5, 2004, Plaintiff Tosin Adegbuji ("Plaintiff") filed
a Complaint ("the Complaint") in this Court against fifteen
agents with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE").*fn1 Plaintiff brought this action under Bivens v.
Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics,
409 F.2d 718 (2d Cir. 1969) asserting claims of excessive force,
illegal search and seizure, denial of due process and equal
protection, and false arrest and imprisonment. See Compl. at 4.
On January 10, 2005, this Court dismissed the Complaint with
prejudice, in its entirety, as against all defendants, for
failure to state a claim. See Adegbuji v. Fifteen Immigration
and Customs Enforcement Agents, 04-1613(JWB) at 22 (Opinion)
(January 10, 2005). In addition, this Court dismissed without
prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies
Plaintiff's tort claims, which asserted loss of personal property
and assault and battery by federal immigration agents under the
FTCA. See id. at 23.
This opinion will rely on the facts as presented in its January
10, 2005 Opinion. See id. at 2-6. Additional facts presented
here will be appropriately cited. DISCUSSION
I. Motion for Reconsideration Standard
A motion for reconsideration is governed by Local Civil Rule
7.1(i). It requires that the moving party "set forth concisely
the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the
[court] has overlooked." Pittston Co. v. Sedgwick James of New
York, Inc., 971 F. Supp. 915, 918-919 (D.N.J. 1997). Thus, a
party "must show more than a disagreement with the court's
decision." Panna v. Firstrust Sav. Bank, 760 F. Supp. 432, 435
A mere "recapitulation of the cases and arguments considered by
the court before rendering its original decision fails to carry
the moving party's burden." Carteret Sav. Bank, F.A. v.
Shushan, 721 F. Supp. 705, 709 (D.N.J. 1989). "Only where the
court has overlooked matters that, if considered by the court,
might reasonably have resulted in a different conclusion, will it
entertain such a motion." Re: United States v. Compaction Sys.
Corp. et al., 88 F. Supp. 2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999).
II. Plaintiff's Arguments
Plaintiff argues that the Court, "overlooked several matters of
law and facts in dismissing the claims" and, "that an intervening
change in the law or controlling precedent has just occurred
which implicated the judgment of the district court relating to
my conviction, the underlying violation of probation and the 1995 warrant of arrest issued . . . by the Southern
District of New York." Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Recons.
("Pl.'s Br.") at 5. The Plaintiff's three main claims are: (1)
that the Court overlooked the severity of his injuries; (2)
habeas corpus claims; and (3) the Court should reexamine
Plaintiff's case in regards to the change in law stemming from
the recent Supreme Court decision United States v. Booker,
125 S.Ct. 738 (2005). The Court will address each of Plaintiff's
claims in turn.
(A) Severity of Injury
Plaintiff argues that this Court's analysis overlooked the
severity of the injuries to his elbow, ankle and head while he
was in custody. See Pl.'s Br. at 11. The injuries sustained,
according to the Plaintiff, were not de minimis physical
injuries, but were more severe. See id. Plaintiff further
claims that the injuries were inflicted maliciously. See id.
Plaintiff also asserts that subsequently a medical doctor
diagnosed him with emotional distress and mental anguish as a
result of the alleged injuries. See id.
This Court's Opinion entered on January 10, 2005 held that
Plaintiff did not allege any serious or permanent physical
injuries. See Adegbuji v. Fifteen Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Agents, 04-1613(JWB) at 11 (Opinion) (January
10,2005). Furthermore, this Court found that Plaintiff offered no evidence that the Defendants intentionally caused him harm.
See id. This Court emphasized that Plaintiff did not allege
that the Defendants caused anything more than de minimis
physical injury. See id. This Court concluded that,
"[u]nintentional and de minimis harm does not rise to the
level of a constitutional deprivation." See id.
In the instant motion, Plaintiff simply reiterates facts
included in the Complaint to support his argument. Plaintiff
offers no new evidence of physical injury. It should be noted
that Plaintiff suggests a medical doctor diagnosed him with
emotional distress and mental anguish, but he has offered no
evidence of such a diagnosis.
As discussed previously, a party is required to show more than
a mere disagreement with the Court's decision. See Panna,
760 F. Supp. at 435. Moreover, a party may not simply present the
identical arguments already considered by the Court. See
Carteret Sav. Bank, 721 F. Supp. at 709. Plaintiff, however,
does exactly that: he relies solely on the arguments already
presented to this Court. On this issue plaintiff does not present
any "overlooked" issues of fact or law that would entitle him to
reconsideration. Therefore, the Plaintiff's Complaint was
properly dismissed with prejudice in its entirety as against all
defendants. (B) Habeas Claims
Plaintiff petitions this Court to address issues regarding his
prior record and deportation. See Pl.'s Br. at 5-11. Additional
habeas claims are outside the scope of a reconsideration motion.
Hence, this Court will not address the merits of these new habeas
(C) Change in the Law Claims
The Supreme Court has held that "other than the fact of a prior
conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime
beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a
jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt." Blakey v.
Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531, 2536 (2004). When Plaintiff filed
his reply, United States v. Booker, 125 S.Ct. 738 (2005), had
not been decided. "Drawing upon its reasoning in
Jones,*fn2 Apprendi*fn3 and Blakely, the Booker
majority held that mandatory enhancement of a sentence under the
Guidelines, based on facts found by the court alone, violates the
Sixth Amendment." United States v. Davis, 2005 WL 976941, *1
(3d Cir. April 28, 2005). To redress this infirmity, the Supreme
Court excised the provision of the statute which made the
application of the Guidelines mandatory.
The Booker decision "brought about sweeping changes in the
realm of federal sentencing." See Davis, at *1. However,
Booker is only applicable to cases on direct review from the sentence
imposed. Therefore Booker does not apply to Plaintiff's present
claims which are collateral to the 1993 conviction which he
presents to this Court. See Motion for Reconsideration, ¶ 25.
Indeed Plaintiff's present motion expressly states that his
direct appeal from that conviction was unsuccessful for his
conviction was "affirmed on May 16, 1994. . . ." Id. at ¶ 29.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration of this Court's order of dismissal entered on
January 10, 2005 is DENIED.