United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOHN E. REARDON, et al., Plaintiffs,
NOEL HILLMAN, et al., Defendants.
BRIAN R. MARTINOTTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
this Court are: (1) John E. Reardon's
(“Reardon”) Motion for relief from judgment
pursuant to Rule 60 (ECF No. 18); (2) Reardon's Motion to
Amend the Complaint (ECF No. 23); and (3) Reardon's
Motion for Recusal (ECF No. 24). Defendants Noel Hillman,
U.S.D.J., Jay Sanchez, Desire Ramsey, and Ryan Merrigan
(collectively, “Defendants”) oppose the Motion
for relief from judgment. (ECF No. 21.) Having reviewed the
parties' submissions filed in connection with the motions
and having declined to hold oral argument pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b), for the reasons set forth
below, and for good cause shown, all motions are
Reardon, Judith A. Reardo n, and John J. Reardon
(collectively “Plaintiffs”) brought an action
against Judge Hillman and Clerk's Office employees Jay
Sanchez, Desiree Ramsey, and Ryan Merrigan, alleging
violations of their First, Fifth, and Seventh Amendment
rights pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, 2201,
and 2202, and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the
Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The
allegations in Plaintiffs' Complaint arose from two other
civil matters they are pursuing in this District, see
Reardon v. Segal, et al., No. 15-00244 (D.N.J., filed
Jan. 13, 2015) and Reardon v. Officer Mondelli, et.
al., No. 15-05520 (D.N.J., filed July 9, 2015), both of
which were before Judge Hillman. Plaintiffs claim Judge
Hillman and the Clerk's Office employees “refuse[d]
to enter default upon demand” in those matters. (ECF
No. 1 ¶¶ 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 13, 16, 18, 19, 23, 27,
28, 35, 48, 50, 51.) Plaintiffs further argued the merits of
their underlying cases and seek $100, 000, 000 in
compensatory, punitive, exemplary damages, loss of income,
and emotional and psychological distress. (See Id.
(Counts 1 through 9).)
April 6, 2018, this Court dismissed Plaintiffs' Complaint
with prejudice. (ECF No. 9.) On April 19, 2018, Plaintiffs
filed a notice of appeal to the Third Circuit. (ECF No. 14.)
On April 28, 2018, the Third Circuit affirmed this
Court's dismissal of Plaintiffs' complaint. See
Reardon v. Hillman, 735 Fed.Appx. 45, 46 (3d Cir. 2018).
(ECF No. 20.) Over six months after this Court's initial
dismissal of Plaintiffs' Complaint, Reardon filed a
Motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60 (ECF No.
18) and a request setting out additional facts and law (ECF
No. 19). Subsequently, on October 31, 2018, Reardon field a
Motion to Amend the Complaint. (ECF No. 23.) On November 1,
2018, Reardon filed a Motion for Recusal. (ECF No. 24.) On
December 12, 2018, Reardon filed another request to add
additional case law to his Rule 60 Motion. (ECF No. 25.)
Motion to Reopen
60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final judgment,
and request reopening of his case, under a limited set of
circumstances including fraud, mistake, and newly discovered
evidence, ” Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524,
529, 125 S.Ct. 2641, 162 L.Ed.2d 480 (2005), as well as
“inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). “The remedy provided by Rule
60(b) is extraordinary, and special circumstances must
justify granting relief under it.” Jones v.
Citigroup, Inc., No. 14-6547, 2015 WL 3385938, at *3
(D.N.J. May 26, 2015) (quoting Moolenaar v. Gov't of
the Virgin Islands, 822 F.2d 1342, 1346 (3d Cir. 1987)).
A Rule 60(b) motion “may not be used as a substitute
for appeal, and . . . legal error, without more cannot
justify granting a Rule 60(b) motion.” Holland v.
Holt, 409 Fed.Appx. 494, 497 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Smith v. Evans, 853 F.2d 155, 158 (3d Cir. 1988)). A
motion under Rule 60(b) may not be granted where the moving
party could have raised the same legal argument by means of a
direct appeal. Id.
Motion to Reconsider
not expressly authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, motions for reconsideration are proper pursuant to
this District's Local Civil Rule 7.1(i). See Dunn v.
Reed Group, Inc., No. 08-1632, 2010 WL 174861, at *1
(D.N.J. Jan 13, 2010). The comments to that Rule make clear,
however, that “reconsideration is an extraordinary
remedy that is granted ‘very sparingly.'”
L.Civ.R. 7.1(i) cmt. 6(d) (quoting Brackett v.
Ashcroft, Civ. No. 03-3988, 2003 WL 22303078, *2 (D.N.J.
Oct. 7, 2003)); see also Langan Eng'g & Envtl.
Servs., Inc. v. Greenwich Ins. Co., No. 07-2983, 2008 WL
4330048, at *1 (D.N.J. Sept. 17, 2008) (explaining that a
motion for reconsideration under Rule 7.1(i) is “
‘an extremely limited procedural vehicle,' and
requests pursuant to th[is] rule[ ] are to be granted
‘sparingly' ”) (citation omitted);
Fellenz v. Lombard Inv. Corp., 400 F.Supp.2d 681,
683 (D.N.J. 2005).
motion for reconsideration “may not be used to
re-litigate old matters, nor to raise arguments or present
evidence that could have been raised prior to the entry of
judgment.” P. Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt., LLC v.
Cendant Corp., 161 F.Supp.2d 349, 352 (D.N.J. 2001).
Instead, Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) directs a party seeking
reconsideration to file a brief “setting forth
concisely the matter or controlling decisions which the party
believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked.”
L.Civ.R. 7.1(i); see also Bowers v. Nat'l Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 130 F.Supp.2d 610, 612 (D.N.J. 2001)
(“The word ‘overlooked' is the operative term
in the Rule.”).
prevail on a motion for reconsideration, the moving party
must show at least one of the following grounds: “(1)
an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence that was not available when the
court [made its initial decision]; or (3) the need to correct
a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest
injustice.” Max's Seafood Cafe by Lou-Ann, Inc.
v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999); see
also N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance, Co., 52
F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995) (internal quotations omitted).
A court commits clear error of law “only if the record
cannot support the findings that led to the ruling.”
ABS Brokerage Servs. v. Penson Fin. Servs., Inc.,
No. 09-4590, 2010 WL 3257992, at *6 (D.N.J. Aug. 16, 2010)
(citing United States v. Grape, 549 F.3d 591, 603-04
(3d Cir. 2008)). “Thus, a party must . . . demonstrate
that (1) the holdings on which it bases its request were
without support in the record, or (2) would result in
‘manifest injustice' if not addressed.”
Id. Moreover, when the assertion is that the Court
overlooked something, the Court must have overlooked some
dispositive factual or legal matter that was presented to it.
See L.Civ.R. 7.1(i).
short, “[m]ere ‘disagreement with the Court's
decision' does not suffice.” ABS Brokerage
Servs., 2010 WL 3257992, at *6 (quoting P.
Schoenfeld Asset Mgmt., LLC, 161 F.Supp.2d at 353);
see also United States v. Compaction Sys. Corp., 88
F.Supp.2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999) (“Mere disagreement
with a court's decision normally should be raised through
the appellate process and is inappropriate on a motion for
[reconsideration].”); Florham Park Chevron, Inc. v.
Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 680 F.Supp. 159, 163 (D.N.J.
1988); Schiano v. MBNA Corp., No. 05-1771,
2006 WL 3831225, at *2 (D.N.J. Dec. 27, 2006) (“Mere
disagreement with the Court will not suffice to show that the
Court overlooked relevant facts or controlling law, . . . and
should be dealt with through the normal appellate process . .
. .”) (citations omitted).