United States District Court, D. New Jersey
G. SHERIDAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on several motions filed by
Plaintiff, namely a motion for reconsideration, a motion to
appeal Magistrate Arpert's order, a motion for
appointment of counsel (ECF Nos. 55, 54, & 55), as well
as Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (ECF No.
a prisoner in New Jersey State Prison ("NJSP"),
filed a complaint alleging several violations of the Eighth
Amendment for unconstitutional conditions of confinement and
denial of medical care. Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleged
that he was confined to the administrative segregation unit
for 90 days as the result of a disciplinary infraction.
Id. ¶ 6. He began experiencing shortness of
breath, dizziness, and chest pains as the result of his
congenital heart condition. Ibid. He filed an
administrative remedy complaint on February 10, 2014 asking
to be moved to an air-conditioned unit to help his medical
conditions. Ibid. Administrator D'Ilio did not
answer the request, but Major D'Amico denied the request.
Ibid. Plaintiff appealed, and Associate
Administrator Campos denied the appeal. Ibid.
Plaintiff was released from administrative segregation on
March 21, 2014. Id. ¶ 7.
being released from administrative segregation, Plaintiff was
placed into a general population cell with a constantly
running and leaking toilet. Ibid. The leaking waste
and smell prevented and/or interfered with Plaintiffs ability
to sleep, and he alleges Administrator D'Ilio knew about
the broken toilet before Plaintiff was placed into that cell.
Ibid. Plaintiff filed an inmate remedy form
("IRF") about the conditions of the cell. He spoke
with Lieutenant Kennedy about needing an air-conditioned unit
because of his medical condition, and Lieutenant Kennedy told
Plaintiff he would make sure Plaintiff was placed into an
air-conditioned cell as soon as one was available.
Id. ¶ 8. Despite same, as air-conditioned cells
became available Lieutenant Kennedy put other prisoners into
those cells instead. Ibid.
Court granted Plaintiffs in forma pauperis
application on August 17, 2015 and permitted the complaint to
proceed on May 9, 2016. (ECF Nos. 2 & 4). On July 1,
2016, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a supplemental
complaint. (ECF No. 14). Magistrate Judge Arpert denied the
motion as Plaintiff had not included a proposed amended
complaint. (ECF No. 14). Defendants filed a motion to dismiss
on July 12, 2016, (ECF No. 17), and Plaintiff filed another
motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint on July 21,
2016. (ECF No. 19). The Court conducted oral argument on
September 26, 2016 and granted the motion to dismiss and
motion for leave to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 25).
The Court directed Plaintiff to file his amended complaint
within 30 days. (ECF No. 25).
complied with the Court's order and filed his amended
complaint on October 24, 2016. (Amended Compl., ECF No. 30).
In the amended complaint, Plaintiff argued the conditions in
his cells were unconstitutional because there was no hot
water, the toilet was too small to use, the sink ran
continuously, the cell lacked proper ventilation, there was
excessive heat in the summer months, and there were frequent
rodent infestations. Amended Compl. ¶ 5 (a)-(f). He
alleged that he began experiencing shortness of breath on
December 21, 2015 and eventually passed out. Id.
¶ 5(g). He was surrounded by nurses and officers when he
woke up and could not estimate the period of time he had been
unconscious. Ibid. The nurses performed an EKG and
called 911 because he may have had a heart attack.
Ibid. When Plaintiff returned to the prison, the
medical department ordered that Plaintiff be placed on
flat-tier only. Ibid.
new cell was near a generator that constantly smelled of gas.
Id. ¶ 5(h). The smell caused Plaintiff to
experience breathing problems and chest pains for which he
had to be taken to the prison hospital. Ibid.
Plaintiff made several requests to be moved to a different
location that housed prisoners with medical problems.
Ibid. According to Plaintiff, a cardiologist and
ear, nose, and throat doctor recommended that he be placed in
a consistently air-conditioned or ventilated environment.
was then placed into administrative segregation for 95 days.
Id. ¶ 6. Upon his return, he discovered his
cell had been searched twice within the past five days. He
also found that his radio was broken, and his clothes and
legal papers were on the floor. Ibid. He also states
that he was kept in administrative segregation for three days
more than his disciplinary sanctions and was never given a
reason why. Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff states that
although he is presently housed in an air-conditioned unit,
he is sharing what was designed as a single-inmate cell with
another inmate. Id. ¶ 8. He asserts
this reduces the air circulation. Ibid. He argues
the defendants deliberately imposed these conditions on him
to cause him physical and mental harm. Ibid.
Court first reviews Plaintiffs motions providing a pertinent
timeline. On October 4, 2017, the Honorable Douglas E.
Arpert, granted Plaintiffs motion to compel discovery a
second time and extended all deadlines in the April 7, 2017
Scheduling Order by 60-Days. (ECF No. 47). Accordingly,
Defendants' dispositive motions were due no later than
January 8, 2018. On November 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
motion for entry of default arguing that Defendants had not
complied with Judge Arpert's October 4, 2017 Order.
Plaintiff avers that he received his first set of documents
from Defendant on November 6, 2017. (ECF 52, PI. Motion for
Reconsid., ¶3). Plaintiff allegedly sent two requests to
the Court to Order Defendants to comply with the Court Order
- the requests are not on the docket. (ECF No. ¶¶
4-5). On January 30, 2018, Defendants submitted a letter in
opposition to Plaintiffs motion for default and requested a
45-day extension in which to file a dispositive motion. On
February 6, 2018, Judge Arpert issued an order granting
Defendant's request to deem Plaintiffs motion for default
moot. (ECF No. 50). On February 9, Judge Arpert issued an
order granting Defendants' request for a 45-day extension
to file dispositive motions. Defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment on March 9, 2018.
Motion for Reconsideration
the Court can tell, Plaintiff is bringing a motion for
reconsideration with regards to Order ECF No. 50 issued by
Judge Arpert on February 6, 2018, which deemed Plaintiffs
motion for Default judgment moot. As the Court understands
it, Plaintiff filed the motion (ECF No. 47) asking the Court
to assess fees against Defendants in the amount of $50
dollars per day for failure to comply with the October 4,
2017 Order which mandated that Defendants should provide
answers to Plaintiffs interrogatories. In the order, Judge
Arpert notes that Defendants stated in a letter from January
30, 2018 that they had produced all answers to
interrogatories and responses to Plaintiffs notice to produce
on November 2, 2017 as per the Court's previous order on
October 4, 2017. Plaintiff also objects to Defendants'
request for a 45-day extension to file a motion for summary
judgment granted by ECF No. 51. Plaintiff reasons that
Defendants have yet to answer the original Complaint.
However, the docket shows that Defendants filed an answer to
the Amended complaint on February 17, 2017 (ECF No. 40) after
receiving a 30-day extension from the Court. (ECF No. 37).
for reconsideration are governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) and L.
Civ. R. 7.l(i). The "extraordinary remedy" of
reconsideration is "to be granted sparingly."
A.K. Stamping Co., Inc., v. Instrument Specialties Co.,
Inc., 106 F.Supp.2d 627, 662 (D.N.J. 2000) (quoting
NL Indus., Inc., v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 935
F.Supp. 513, 516 (D.N.J. 1996)). The Rule "does not
contemplate a Court looking to matters which were not
originally presented." Damiano v. Sony Music
Entertainment, Inc., 975 F.Supp. 623, 634 (D.N.J. 1996)
(quoting Florham Park Chevron, Inc., v. Chevron U.S.A.,
Inc., 680 F.Supp. 159, 162 (D.N.J. 1988)). The Third
Circuit has held that the "purpose of a motion for
reconsideration 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),
cert, denied, 476 U.S. 1171 (1986).
"Reconsideration motions, however, may not be used to
relitigate old matters, nor to raise arguments or present
evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of
judgment." NL Indus., Inc., 935 F.Supp. at 516;
See Wright, Miller & Kane, Fed. Practice and
Procedure: Civil 2d§ 2810.1. To prevail on a motion
for reconsideration, the movant must show: "(1) an
intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence that was not available when the
court. . . [rendered the judgment in question]; or (3) the
need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent
manifest injustice." U.S. ex rel. Shumann v.
Astrazeneca Pharm. L.P., 769 F.3d 837, 848-49 (3d Cir.
2014) (citing Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann,
Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999)).
The standard of review involved in a motion for
reconsideration is high and relief is to be granted
sparingly. United States v. Jones, 158 F.R.D. 309,
314 (D.N.J. 1994). "The Court will grant a motion for
reconsideration only where its prior decision has overlooked
a factual or legal issue that may alter the disposition of
the matter. The word 'overlooked' is the operative
term in the Rule." Andreyko v. Sunrise Sr. Living,
Inc., 993 F.Supp.2d 475, 478 (D.N.J. 2014) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted). Mere disagreement
with the Court's decision is not a basis for
reconsideration. United States v. Compaction Sys.
Corp., 88 F.Supp.2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999).
has failed to show that he met any of the above-mentioned
circumstances that would warrant reconsideration of the
Court's prior decision in Order ECF No. 50 and 51. Thus
the motion is DENIED.
Appeal of Magistrate Decision
motion to appeal the Magistrate decision is based on the same
issues discussed in the motion for reconsideration. Plaintiff
filed a letter on February 26, 2018 (ECF No. 54) moving to
appeal Magistrate Arpert's decision to grant a 45-day
extension from the original due date of dispositive motions
to Defendants so that they might file a motion for summary
argues that he objected when Defendants filed a request for
an extension, but Judge Arpert granted the extension
notwithstanding his objection. Plaintiffs argument in this
appeal is conclusory and unsupported, and it is one within
Judge Arpert's discretion.
motion is DENIED.
Motion to Appoint Counsel
filed a motion to appoint pro bono counsel. (ECF No. 55). The
reasons for this motion are similar as previously stated. In
his application, Plaintiff mentions that he has been
litigating this case with the help of paralegals at the New
Jersey State Prison. He states that he is on several
medications which cause memory loss, drowsiness, and other
side effects. He lists the following medications:
a) Diltiazem 300 mg once a day.
b) Carvedilol 25 mg (coreg) twice a day.
c) Clonidine 0.3 mg twice a day.
d) Terazosin 10 mg once a day.
e) Atorvastation 20 mg one a day.
f) Ranexa 1000 mg twice a day.
g) Aspirin 81 mg once a day.
h) Nitro ...