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Shulman v. Facebook.Com

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 4, 2019

JACK A. SHULMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
FACEBOOK.COM, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          John Michael Vazquez, U.S.D.J.

         This case arises from Plaintiffs claims that Defendants are engaged in a vast conspiracy to stop Plaintiffs media company from using Facebook. Currently pending before the Court are two motions: (1) Defendant Facebook, Inc.'s motion for reconsideration of the Court's August 10, 2018 Order, D.E. 118, granting Plaintiffs motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis, D.E. 120; and (2) Plaintiffs cross-motion to supplement the record on appeal, D.E. 127. The Court reviewed all submissions in support and in opposition of these motions[1] and considered the motions without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b) and Local Civil Rule 78.1 (b). For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion for reconsideration is denied, and Plaintiffs motion to supplement the record on appeal is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court included an extensive factual background in its July 9, 2018 Opinion dismissing with prejudice Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint, D.E. 111, which the Court incorporates by reference here. After the Court dismissed Plaintiffs Second Amended Complaint with prejudice, D.E. 111, 112, Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal, D.E. 114, and moved for leave to file the appeal in forma pauperis, D.E. 115. Defendant opposed this motion, D.E. 117, and Plaintiff replied, D.E. 119. On August 6, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiffs motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis. D.E. 118 ("Prior Order").

         While there are multiple Defendants in this case, only Defendant Facebook, Inc. moved for reconsideration of the Court's August 20, 2018 decision. D.E. 120. Plaintiff opposed this motion, and filed a cross-motion to supplement the record on October 1, 2018. D.E. 127. Defendant opposed Plaintiffs cross motion, and replied to Plaintiffs opposition, on October 8, 2018. D.E. 128. Plaintiff replied to Defendant's opposition of his cross-motion on October 8, 2018. D.E. 129.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In the District of New Jersey, motions for reconsideration can be made pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1(i). The rule provides that such motions must be made within fourteen days of the entry of an order. The Court issued its Order on August 10, 2018. D.E. 118. Defendant filed its motion for reconsideration on August 20, 2018. D.E. 120. Accordingly, Defendant complied with this time requirement.

         Substantively, a motion for reconsideration is viable when one of three scenarios is present: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) the availability of new evidence not previously available, or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. Carmichael v. Everson, No. 03-4787, 2004 WL 1587894, at *1 (D.N.J. May 21, 2004) (citations omitted). Granting a motion for reconsideration is an "extraordinary remedy," to be granted "sparingly." NL Indus., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 935 F.Supp. 513, 516 (D.N.J. 1996) (citations omitted). A motion for reconsideration, however, does not entitle a party to a second bite at the apple. Therefore, a motion for reconsideration is inappropriate when a party merely disagrees with a court's ruling or when a party simply wishes to re-argue or re-hash its original motion. Sch. Specialty, Inc. v. Ferrentino, No. 14-4507, 2015 WL 4602995, *2-3 (D.N.J. July 30, 2015); see also Florham Park Chevron, Inc. v. Chevron U.S.A., 680 F.Supp. 159, 162 (D.N.J. 1988). Moreover, a motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity to raise matters that could have been raised before the original decision was reached. Bowers v. NCAA, 130 F.Supp.2d 610, 613 (D.N.J. 2001).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Reconsideration of In Forma Pauperis Grant

         Defendant is not arguing an intervening change in law or that new evidence has since become available in support of its motion for reconsideration. Instead, Defendant argues that the Court must correct a clear error of law or prevent manifest injustice. Defendant argues that the Court should reconsider and vacate its grant of in forma pauperis status to Plaintiff on appeal because the Court failed to consider whether the appeal was "taken in good faith," as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). Def Br. at 1. Defendant cites precedent from the Ninth Circuit in support of this argument. Id. (citing Smart v. Heinze, 347 F.2d 114, 116 (9th Cir. 1995)).

         Defendant is largely rehashing the argument that it already made in opposition to Plaintiffs motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis. See D.E. 117 at 1-2. The Court considered this argument at that time; Defendant simply disagrees with the Court's conclusion. This is not grounds for reconsideration.

         The Court further finds that Defendant's argument is inconsistent with Third Circuit precedent. The Third Circuit recognizes that

[w]hile there may be extreme circumstances where such a right [to proceed in forma pauperis] should be denied for plain lack of merit, we think that, particularly in pro se cases, the right to proceed in forma pauperis should generally be ...

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