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Aiellos v. Zisa

November 2, 2009

THOMAS AIELLOS, JOSEPH INGLIMA, DONALD PIERCE, SCOTT SYBEL, ANTHONY DUARDO, RALPH CAVALLO, AND VINCENT RIOTTO, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHIEF C. KENNETH ZISA, JOSEPH ZISA, HON. WILLIAM J. MARTINI TOMAS PADILLA, KEVIN TOOMEY, ANTHONY TREZZA, PHILLIP CARROLL, CAPTAIN THOMAS SALCEDO, CITY OF HACKENSACK, AND SERGEANT TIMOTHY LLOYD, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini, U.S.D.J.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM OPINION*fn1

I. INTRODUCTION

On June 24, 2009, Plaintiffs, current and former officers of the Hackensack Police Department ("HPD"), filed an eleven-count civil rights action against Defendant HPD Chief of Police, C. Kenneth Zisa, and others, alleging that the Defendants violated their constitutional rights. (Doc. No. 1.) On August 3, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a more detailed twelve-count Amended Complaint, (Doc. No. 9), which has since become the operative complaint by order of the Court, (Doc. No. 19).

Defendant Tomas Padilla's filed a motion to dismiss, (Doc. No. 3), which although filed prior to the Amended Complaint, addressed the Amended Complaint through supplemental briefing. Padilla's motion to dismiss was fully briefed. Of the twelve counts in the Amended Complaint, only four were litigated in Padilla's motion to dismiss. The Court ruled on Padilla's motion to dismiss, (Doc. No. 47 (opinion) & Doc. No. 48 (order)), granting in part, and denying in part the relief sought. Among other relief granted, the Court dismissed Count II--the Section 1962(b) RICO count.

Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' letter motion (the "Motion") for reconsideration, which seeks reconsideration in regard to the dismissed RICO count. (Doc. No. 55.)

Having considered the Plaintiffs' reconsideration filings, this Court's prior opinion and order, federal and state constitutional and statutory law, case law, and persuasive scholarly authority, the Court, for the reasons elaborated below, will DENY the motion for reconsideration.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND ALLEGED IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

The gravamen of the Amended Complaint is that the Hackensack Chief of Police, Defendant Zisa, in conjunction with Defendant Captain Padilla, (the movant of the motion to dismiss), and other Defendants engaged in a pattern of extortion, against other HPD officers, i.e., Plaintiffs, seeking, among other things, political donations to further Zisa and Padilla's political career and the political career of those allied with them, including candidates for office within the Policemen's Benevolent Association ("PBA") of Hackensack. It is further alleged that those who were not allied with Zisa and Padilla, including those officers who refused to donate to their political campaigns, were subject to retaliation and threats of retaliation in violation of Plaintiffs' First Amendment free speech and freedom of association rights. Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, subsequently superseded by the Amended Complaint, and Defendant Padilla brought a motion to dismiss, subsequently ruled on. That ruling is now contested in the motion to reconsider being litigated here. For further particulars see this Court's prior memorandum opinion. (Doc. No. 47.)

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to reconsider is brought pursuant to N.J. L.R. 7.1(i) ("A brief setting forth concisely the matter or controlling decisions which the party believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked shall be filed with the Notice of Motion."). To prevail on a motion for reconsideration, a litigant must demonstrate: "(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence...; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999).

IV. ANALYSIS

Count II of the Amended Complaint brings a cause of action against Padilla under Section 1962(b) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), Pub. L. 91-452, 84 Stat. 941, as amended, 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 1961-1968. Section 1962(b) provides: It shall be unlawful for any person through a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt to acquire or maintain, directly or indirectly, any interest in ...


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