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Associated Builders And Contractors, Inc. v. City of Jersey City

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

November 29, 2017



          WIGENTON, District Judge.

         Before this Court is Intervenor-Defendant Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council (“Trades Council”) and Defendant City of Jersey City, New Jersey's (“Jersey City”) (collectively, “Defendants”) Joint Motion for Reconsideration and/or Clarification[1] of this Court's June 15, 2017 Order. This Opinion is issued without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons stated herein, the Joint Motion for Clarification is GRANTED, and the Joint Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.


         This Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the factual background and procedural history in this matter and thus will summarize only those facts relevant to the instant motion.

         On August 29, 2014, Plaintiffs Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., New Jersey Chapter, GMP Contractors LLC, Alpine Painting and Sandblasting Contractors, Alper Enterprises, Inc., and Ron Vasilik (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed suit against Defendant Jersey City. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) On September 23, 2014, Trades Council filed a Motion to Intervene, which this Court granted on October 16, 2014. (ECF No. 12.)

         In their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that a City Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) that imposes certain restrictions on developers of tax-abated projects is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.[2] (Compl. ¶¶ 29-33.) Plaintiffs also allege that the Ordinance's apprenticeship requirement[3] violates the Privileges and Immunities and/or the Commerce Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, and is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1002(1), 1144. (Id. ¶¶ 34-39.)[4]

         On August 3, 2015, this Court granted Jersey City's motion to dismiss the Complaint in its entirety, finding that Jersey City acted as a market participant and not a regulator. (ECF Nos. 33-34.) On September 1, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal in the Third Circuit, appealing only the dismissal of their NLRA, ERISA, and dormant Commerce Clause claims, and not their 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or state law claims. (ECF No. 35.) On September 16, 2016, the Third Circuit concluded that Jersey City was acting as a regulator and remanded the case for further proceedings. See Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. N.J. Chapter v. City of Jersey City, 836 F.3d 412, 421 (3d Cir. 2016).

         On February 17, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). (ECF No. 58.) Plaintiffs moved to enjoin enforcement of the Ordinance on any tax-abated project, arguing that the Ordinance is preempted under the NLRA and ERISA, and is unconstitutional on its face under the dormant Commerce Clause. (Id.) On June 15, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiffs' motion, and enjoined enforcement of the Ordinance “on any tax-abated project.” (ECF Nos. 71-72.) Defendants subsequently filed the instant motion to reconsider and/or clarify that decision. (ECF Nos. 76- 77.)


         “The general purpose of a motion for clarification is to explain or clarify something ambiguous or vague, not to alter or amend.” Skelcy v. United Health Grp., No. 12-1014, 2014 WL 9910576, at *1 (D.N.J. Nov. 14, 2014) (quoting Lynch v. Tropicana Prods., Inc., No. 11-7382, 2013 WL 4804528, at *1 (D.N.J. Sept. 9, 2013)). In contrast, the purpose of a motion to reconsider is to “correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.” Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985); see also Asirifi v. Omni Asset Mgmt., LLC, No. 11-4039, 2013 WL 4858711, at *1 (D.N.J. Sept. 11, 2013).

         A party seeking reconsideration must establish one of the following: “(1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3) the need to correct clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice.” Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d 666, 669 (3d Cir. 2010). Reconsideration is granted sparingly as it is considered an extraordinary remedy. J.J.C. Boats, Inc. v. Hlywiak, 573 F.Supp.2d 871, 873 (D.N.J. 2008). A motion for reconsideration will not be granted where the moving party is simply seeking to set forth the reasons why it disagrees with the court's decision or is asking “the court to analyze the same facts and cases it had already considered in reaching its original decision.” Tehan v. Disability Mgmt. Servs., 111 F.Supp.2d 542, 549 (D.N.J. 2000). As Defendants fail to establish any basis for reconsideration of this Court's June 15, 2017 Order, their Motion for Reconsideration will be denied. This Court will, however, provide clarification as to the scope and application of its June 15th Opinion and Order.


         Specifically, Defendants seek further guidance as to whether this Court's Opinion and Order: (1) voids the Ordinance entirely, or only as it applies to tax-abated projects; and (2) retroactively and/or prospectively voids PLAs entered into pursuant to the Ordinance. (See Defs.' Br. at 1, 3.)

         a. Scope of June 15, ...

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