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Thompson v. Eva's Village and Sheltering Program

October 20, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joel A. Pisano United States District Judge


Clarkson S. Fisher Courthouse 402 East State Street Trenton, NJ 08608 (609) 989-0502


Dear Parties:

Currently before the Court is a motion filed by pro se Plaintiff, Steven C. Thompson on August 26, 2008 requesting that the Court reconsider its February 24, 2006 decision awarding summary judgment in favor of the Defendants and dismissing plaintiff's Complaint. In his Complaint, Mr. Thompson asserted numerous constitutional, federal, and state law claims premised on allegations that defendants barred him from a Narcotics Anonymous meeting due to his religious beliefs. Defendants oppose the motion.

I. Background

The procedural history in this case is extensive. Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this matter on June 6, 2004. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings or in the alternative a Motion for Summary Judgment which was denied by the Court on September 17, 2004. Plaintiff then filed numerous motions seeking the recusal or disqualification of Magistrate Judge Madeline C. Arleo and the undersigned, which were denied by this Court and affirmed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

On September 15, 2005, defendants filed motions for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff's claims were barred by the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act, N.J.S.A. § 2A:53A-7 (2005). By letter order dated November 10, 2005, the Court denied defendants' motions because the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act did not apply to plaintiff's non-negligence claims. In its November 10, 2005 letter order, the Court also denied plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court permitted defendants to file motions for summary judgment that addressed the validity of the various non-negligence causes of action alleged by plaintiff. Plaintiff then moved to amend his complaint but his request was denied, and summary judgment was awarded to defendants on plaintiff's federal law claims, by the Court's February 24, 2006 Order. In the opinion accompanying this Order, the Court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining claims, which were matters of state law exclusively. The Third Circuit affirmed the Order and denied Plaintiff's appeal on June 18, 2007.

In April 2006, following the February 24, 2006 Order, plaintiff re-filed his Complaint in state court in Passaic County. The parties engaged in discovery in the state court action, and summary judgment was awarded to the defendants on April 4, 2008. Plaintiff appealed the adverse ruling and it appears that the appeal is currently pending. The instant motion, filed by plaintiff on August 26, 2008, is but one of a long series of related, often duplicative, filings by Mr. Thompson.

II. Discussion

A. Local Civil Rule 7.2(b)

The Court need not, in its discretion, consider Plaintiff's lengthy and meandering submissions because they are in violation of Local Civil Rule 7.2(b), which provides: "[a]ny brief . . . shall not exceed 40 ordinary typed or printed pages . . . excluding pages required for the table of contents and authorities. Briefs of greater length will only be accepted if special permission of the Judge or Magistrate Judge is obtained prior to submission of the brief." By filing a 150-page memorandum of law in support of his motion without petitioning the Court for leave to file an overlength brief in either instance, Plaintiff has clearly run afoul of this requirement. Moreover, Plaintiff's 100-page reply brief violates Rule 7.2(b)'s mandate that reply briefs be limited to fifteen pages. Id. There is absolutely no record of Plaintiff having applied for, or obtained, leave to file an overlength brief.

Courts in this district have admonished parties, including those proceeding pro se, for violating Rule 7.2(b) and have repeatedly refused to consider briefs submitted in violation of the rule. See, e.g., Andrews v. Marriott, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50590, *4 n.2 (D.N.J. June 25, 2008) (noting, "Parties, even those proceeding pro se, must comply with Local Rule 7.2(b), and limit their briefs accordingly"); Lombardi v. Morris County Sheriff's Dep't, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59279, *5-6 n.31 (D.N.J. Aug. 14, 2007) (refusing to consider an overlength reply brief for failure to comply with Rule 7.2(b) and 7.1, which prohibits reply briefs for motions to reconsider under that rule); In re Nice Sys. Sec. Litig., 135 F. Supp. 2d 551 (D.N.J. 2001) (denying without prejudice motion to file an amended complaint due to failure to comply with Rule 7.2(b)).

Though the Court need not consider Plaintiff's submissions, it will exercise the discretion afforded the tribunal under Local Rule 83.2(b) to ...

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