United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.
Petitioner is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at F.C.I. Fort Dix in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and a petition for writ of mandamus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1361. Plaintiff seeks medical attention to treat his eyes as he alleges that he is going blind in both eyes.
Petitioner neither paid the filing fee nor submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis at the time he filed his petition. Normally, such an omission would have resulted in an administrative termination of this action until petitioner either paid the filing fee or submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis. However, recognizing the potential severity of petitioner's medical claim, the Court screened the petition on the merits. On January 14, 2014, the Court dismissed this action as being improperly raised as a mandamus and/or habeas petition, but gave petitioner leave to file a complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).
Presently pending before the Court is petitioner's motion to amend/alter the January 14, 2014 Opinion and Order. Accordingly, the Clerk will be ordered to reopen this case. For the following reasons, petitioner's motion to alter the January 14, 2014 Opinion and Order will be denied.
Petitioner sought mandamus and habeas relief so that he could get outside treatment for his eyes while incarcerated at a federal prison. He claims that he is going blind in both eyes after cataract eye surgery was unsuccessful. The Court previously determined that seeking mandamus relief was improper because the Bureau of Prisons had discretion under 18 U.S.C. § 3622 to authorize petitioner's furlough request. Thus, petitioner failed to state a clear non-discretionary duty that was owed to him by the Bureau of Prisons. ( See Dkt. No. 2 at p. 3.)
The Court also determined that petitioner's reliance on habeas relief under § 2241 was improper because his petition challenged the conditions of his prison confinement with respect to the medical care he was receiving for his eyes, as opposed to a challenge to the validity of his conviction or length of his sentence. ( See Dkt. No. 2 at p. 4.) The Court therefore dismissed the petition but gave petitioner leave to file a Bivens complaint.
Petitioner filed his motion to amend or alter judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Petitioner claims that the Court erred by neglecting to consider petitioner's claim in his petition that this Court also has jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3626.
A. Legal Standard for Reconsideration
Motions filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) are governed by Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) which allows a party to seek reconsideration by the Court of matters which the party believes the judge has "overlooked." See Carney v. Pennsauken Twp. Police Dep't, No. 11-7366, 2013 WL 4501454, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 21, 2013) (citations omitted). "The standard for reargument is high and reconsideration is to be granted only sparingly." Yarrell v. Bartkowski, No. 10-5337, 2012 WL 1600316, at *3 (D.N.J. May 7, 2012) (citing United States v. Jones, 158 F.R.D. 309, 314 (D.N.J. 1994)). To be successful on a motion for reconsideration, a petitioner has the burden to demonstrate: "(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court [issued its order]; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citation omitted); see also Berry v. Jacobs IMC, LLC, 99 F.Appx. 405, 410 (3d Cir. 2004).
Petitioner argues in his motion for reconsideration that the Court overlooked the fact that in addition to asserting mandamus and habeas jurisdiction, he also asserted jurisdiction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3626 in his petition. That section is entitled "Appropriate remedies with respect to prison conditions." See id. As the title to this section indicates, § 3626 is a remedies statute and does not, in and of itself, confer jurisdiction on this Court. Indeed, as the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has noted, "section 3626(a) limits not jurisdiction, ...