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O.R. v. Rudnick

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


May 4, 2010

O.R. O/B/O O.R. (A MINOR), PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CHARLES RUDNICK (PRINCIPAL), DENNIS LEPOLD (PRINCIPAL), MICHAEL ZAPICCHI (PRINCIPAL), VICORIA KNIEWEL (SUPERINTENDENT), GERRI HUNTER (CUSTODIAN OF RECORDS), WEST WINDSOR PLAINSBORO SCHOOL DISTRICT, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Docket No. L-10-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 21, 2010

Before Judges Graves and J. N. Harris.

This is the seventh appeal to reach this court in a long-running saga relating to events that occurred in 2004 at the Community Middle School in Plainsboro. This current appeal involves the then-minor plaintiff O.R.'s grievances, and is a reprise of plaintiffs' efforts to augment litigational discovery by utilizing the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13 (OPRA), as well as the common law right of access to public records. Finding no merit in any of plaintiffs' current appellate contentions, we affirm substantially for the reasons stated in Judge Linda R. Feinberg's thoughtfully detailed written opinion dated April 6, 2009,*fn1 which resolved plaintiffs' first motion for reconsideration.

As for plaintiffs' later-filed second motion for reconsideration,*fn2 we find that Judge Feinberg applied the proper standard of review when it was denied on May 29, 2009. Accordingly, we affirm that determination as well.

Motions for reconsideration are governed by Rule 4:49-2. Reconsideration is a matter to be exercised in the trial court's principled discretion. Johnson v. Cyklop Strapping Corp., 220 N.J. Super. 250, 257 (App. Div. 1987), certif. denied, 110 N.J. 196 (1988). "A litigant should not seek reconsideration merely because of dissatisfaction with a decision of the [c]court." D'Atria v. D'Atria, 242 N.J. Super. 392, 401 (Ch. Div. 1990). "Reconsideration should be utilized only for those cases . . . in which either 1) the [c]court has expressed its decision based upon a palpably incorrect or irrational basis, or 2) it is obvious that the [c]court either did not consider, or failed to appreciate the significance of probative, competent evidence." Ibid. The standard for granting reconsideration is clearly a strict one, and such a motion will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked.

Moreover, parties cannot use the reconsideration process to do what should have been done in the original proceeding. Reconsideration is available only to demonstrate "the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the court has overlooked or as to which it has erred." R. 4:49-2. Reconsideration cannot be used to expand the record or to reargue the summary judgment motion. A motion for reconsideration is not the proper procedure to introduce new evidence to the court in an effort to cure an inadequacy in the motion record. See Cummings, supra, 295 N.J. Super. at 384.

Finally, we have duly considered the remaining arguments raised by plaintiffs. We are satisfied that they lack merit and require no discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Affirmed.


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