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Berry v. Lombardi

March 22, 2006

MARSHALL BERRY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN LOMBARDI, MORRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, EDWARD ROCHFORD, JOHN DEMPSEY, JOHN KINNECOM, FRED MILLS, FRANK CORRENTE, ROGER BISHOP, MICHAEL NOWACKI, AND JOHN DOES I THROUGH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bassler, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Both Plaintiff, Marshall Berry, and Defendants, Edward Rochford, John Dempsey, John Kinnecom and Frank Corrente have moved the Court to reconsider its October 13, 2005 Opinion denying Plaintiff's partial summary judgment motion and granting in part and denying in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below the Court grants Defendants' and Plaintiff's motions to reconsider.

The Court exercises jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332. Venue is proper in the District of New Jersey pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Marshall Berry, an African American male, began working for the Morris County Sheriff's Department ("MCSD") as a provisional corrections officer on May 16, 1977. Berry injured his back as the result of an accident during an MCSD training exercise on August 3, 1984. Berry's injury caused him to be out of work from March 1997 through December 1998. After returning to work in December 1998, the MCSD suspended Berry purportedly because his back injury made him a risk to himself and his co-workers.

On October 4, 1999, the MCSD officially terminated Berry's employment. Berry alleges that his termination was racially motivated. He contends that his "race has subjected him to ridicule by many officers and co-workers" at the Morris County Jail, and that "such ridicule has taken place either in the presence of or with the knowledge of supervisory personnel, including the Defendants." Amended Complaint("Am. Compl.") ¶ 25.

Berry filed this action on June 15, 2000 against MCSD, John Lombardi,*fn1 Edward Rochford, John Dempsey, John Kinnecom, Fred Mills, Frank Corrente, Roger Bishop, and Michael Nowacki. The nineteen-count complaint contains numerous employment-related causes of action. The complaint states claims for discrimination based on race and disability, hostile work environment, violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of the First Amendment, breach of contract, and breach of implied warranties of good faith and fair dealing.

On October 8, 2004, Berry filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to liability only on his claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. He also filed an in limine motion seeking to bar from the trial evidence of the results, settlement, or medical reports of his Workers' Compensation case. On the same date, Defendants cross-moved for summary judgment on all counts of the complaint. Defendants also filed an in limine motion seeking to preclude from the trial any evidence of racial discrimination that allegedly occurred during Berry's employment with MCSD.

On October 13, 2005 the Court denied Berry's partial summary judgment motion, denied in part and granted in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and denied Defendants' and Berry's motions in limine. Berry moves to have the Court reconsider its determination that Berry failed to present evidence of psychological harm, which is necessary to maintain an action for Count Six of the complaint, intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants seek reconsideration of that portion of the Court's Order denying summary judgment on Count One, Plaintiff's § 1983 claim.

II. ANALYSIS

A. THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION STANDARD

A motion for reconsideration under Local Civil Rule 7.1(g) must set forth "the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the Judge or magistrate has overlooked," and intervening change in the law, or new, previously unavailable evidence. See Natural Resources Defense Council v. U.S. E.P.A., 705 F.Supp. 698, 702 (D.D.C. 1989) (citations omitted. A party seeking reconsideration under Local Rule 7.1(g) must do more than disagree with the Court's decision. Mere "recapitulation of the cases and arguments considered by the Court before rendering its original decision fails to carry the moving party's burden." G-69 v. Degnan, 748 F.Supp. 274, 275 (D.N.J. 1990); see also Fontenot v. Mesa Petroleum Co., 791 F.2d 1207, 1219 (5th Cir. 1986); Youmans v. Simon, 791 F.2d 341, 349 (5th Cir. 1986).

A motion for reconsideration is improper when it is used "to ask the Court to rethink what it has already thought through--rightly or wrongly." Oritani Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Md., 744 F.Supp. 1311, 1314 (D.N.J. 1990) (citations omitted), rev'd on other grounds, 989 F.2d 635 (3d Cir. 1993). Finally, "only if the matters which were overlooked, if considered by the Court, might reasonably have resulted in a different conclusion will the ...


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