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McGovern v. City of Jersey City

February 1, 2007

RE: MCGOVERN
v.
CITY OF JERSEY CITY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jose L. Linares United States District Judge

CHAMBERS OF JOSE L. LINARES JUDGE

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. FEDERAL BUILDING & U.S. COURTHOUSE 50 WALNUT ST., ROOM 5054 P.O. Box 999 Newark, NJ 07101-0999 973-645-6042

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

LETTER OPINION

Dear Parties:

Currently before the Court is a motion to appeal the August 29, 2006 order of Magistrate Judge Ronald J. Hedges filed by Defendants, Hudson County, the Hudson County Sheriff's Office, and Joseph Cassidy. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is denied and Judge Hedges's August 29, 2006 decision is affirmed; however, the Court will permit Defendants to file a new motion for summary judgment in accordance with the below specifications.

I. Factual and Procedural History

Judge Hedges issued a pre-trial order on September 17, 2004 stating that all dispositive motions in this matter were to be filed by November 18, 2004. This deadline was subsequently extended, via order dated November 16, 2004, to December 17, 2004. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on December 16, 2004.*fn1 On January 6, 2006, the Court issued an order granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment.*fn2 The Court however, did not take a position on any Petition Clause claim asserted by Plaintiff, noting that Defendants did not brief this issue. See Opinion (Jan. 6, 2006) at pp. 24 n.8, 32 n.12.

Defendants filed a motion for reconsideration and/or clarification of the Court's January 6, 2006 decision on January 23, 2006. Defendants argued that they briefed the validity of a Petition Clause claim in their summary judgment papers and that in any event, Plaintiff failed to assert a Petition Clause claim in his complaint. The Court denied this motion on May 2, 2006.

First, the Court found that there was no such discussion of the Petition Clause or related law in Defendants' summary judgment briefs. Further, the Court determined that Plaintiff asserted a Petition Clause claim against Defendants.

On July 18, 2006, Defendants filed another motion for summary judgment. In this motion, Defendants asked the Court to dismiss any Petition Clause claim asserted by Plaintiff.

Judge Hedges entered an order on August 29, 2006 striking Defendants July 18, 2006 summary judgment motion. In this order, Judge Hedges explained that Defendants' motion was improperly filed because:

(1) it was in violation of the pre-trial order stating that all dispositive motions were to be filed by November 18, 2004, a date which was ...


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