United States District Court, D. New Jersey
J.C. individually, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
GENE RICHARDS, ANTHONY H. OGOZALEK, JR., RANDALL FREILING, DONNA CARNS, KIMBERLY MORRELL, JENAI JOHNSON, SGT. ROBERT WORRICK, CHARLES GROVER, BOROUGH OF CLEMENTON Defendants.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
case concerns civil rights claims brought by a pro se
litigant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the New Jersey Civil
Rights Act. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's
Motion for Reconsideration and Motion for Recusal. For the
reasons expressed herein, this Court will grant
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and deny
Plaintiff's Motion for Recusal.
September 17, 2018 Plaintiff, identified only as J.C., filed
a complaint in this Court against the Borough of Clementon,
Donna Carns, Randall Freiling, Charles Grover, Jenai Johnson,
Kimberly Morrell, Anthony M. Ogozalek, Jr., Gene Richards,
and Robert Worrick (collectively, “Defendants”).
The complaint alleges that in September 2016, Plaintiff
received a notice stating he had plant growth on his property
that was in violation of the Borough of Clementon's code.
A trial was held concerning this alleged code violation, in
which the charge was apparently sustained. The code violation
allegedly entailed a fine, court costs, and later criminal
penalties. Plaintiff alleges various civil rights violations
occurred during the investigation, prosecution, and attempted
appeal of the underlying case.
September 18, 2018, this Court issued an Order to Show Cause
to Plaintiff, directing Plaintiff to either (1) show cause
why Plaintiff should be able to proceed under the pseudonym
“J.C.” or (2) amend the complaint so that the
caption contains his name. Plaintiff responded to this Order
to Show Cause on October 5, 2018, arguing he should be able
to proceed under what Plaintiff asserted were his initials.
On November 1, 2018, this Court ordered Plaintiff to amend
his complaint to reflect his full name or face dismissal,
thereafter filed a Motion for Reconsideration on November 29,
2018 and a “Reply in Opposition to November 1st
Filing” on December 6, 2018. Plaintiff also filed a
Motion for Recusal on December 6, 2018. Considering no
Defendant has entered an appearance, this Court finds these
motions fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court possesses subject matter jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1331 and 1367.
Motion for Reconsideration Standard
brings a motion for reconsideration under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e). Rule 59(e) allows a Court to
“alter or amend a judgment.” Because there has
been no final judgment entered under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 54(b), a Rule 59(e) motion is inapplicable.
Jones v. Sanko S.S. Co., No. 10-6787 (JBS/KMW), 2016
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26205, at *10-11 (D.N.J. Mar. 2, 2016)
(citing Mitchell v. Twp. Of Willingboro Mun.
Gov't, 913 F.Supp.2d 62, 78 (D.N.J. 2012)).
this Court will construe Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration as one under Local Rule of Civil Procedure
7.1(i). Local Rule 7.1(i) allows a party to file a
motion with the Court requesting the Court to reconsider the
“matter or controlling decisions which the party
believes the Judge or Magistrate Judge has overlooked.”
Construing this motion liberally, this appears to be exactly
the argument Plaintiff sets forth. (See Pl.'s
Mtn. for Recons. 1 n.1 (“Thus, Plaintiff's motion
for reconsideration does not attempt to raise arguments or
evidence Plaintiff neglected to put forth earlier, but rather
urges the Court to grant due consideration to overlooked
evidence Plaintiff presented.”).)
Local Rule 7.1(i) standard applies to Plaintiff's Motion
for Reconsideration. Under Local Rule 7.1(i), the moving
party must demonstrate “‘the need to correct a
clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest
injustice.'” Andreyko v. Sunrise Sr. Living,
Inc., 993 F.Supp.2d 475, 478 (D.N.J. 2014) (citations
omitted). In doing so, the moving party must show the
“‘dispositive factual matter or controlling
decisions of law'” it believes the court overlooked
in its initial decision. Mitchell, 913 F.Supp.2d at
78 (citation omitted). A mere disagreement with the Court
will not suffice to show that the Court overlooked relevant
facts or controlling law. United States v. Compaction
Sys. Corp., 88 F.Supp.2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999).
Motion for Reconsideration
Motion for Reconsideration is essentially a restatement, some
of it word-for-word, of his other filings and mostly shows
mere disagreement with the Court's Orders rather than
that the Court overlooked any dispositive legal or factual
matters. The Court finds, however, that Plaintiff has
presented a single question of law and fact that this Court
must consider. Plaintiff asserted in his response to the
Court's September 18, 2019 Order to Show Cause that he
was presently seeking expungement, although the Court stated
he only planned on seeking expungement at some later date.
Thus, the question presented to this Court is whether
Plaintiff may proceed using only his initials if he seeks
expungement of state court criminal records under the All
Writs Act. For that reason, all arguments except
Plaintiff's argument concerning expungement, shall not be
considered by the Court.
Complaint appears to request expungement pursuant to the All
Writs Act. In Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff states
“Plaintiff's claim for expungement (if needed) is
authorized by the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. §
1651.” (Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 1.) Although the
addition of “if needed” appears to indicate that
Plaintiff did not presently wish to pursue expungement,
Plaintiff has made clear in later briefing to the Court that
Plaintiff does wish to pursue expungement in this ...