United States District Court, D. Delaware
MONIR A. GEORGE, Petitioner,
DANA METZGER, Warden, and the ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.
HONORABLE LEONARD P. STARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Petitioner Monk A. George's
('Tetitioner") Motion for Reconsideration of the
Court's refusal to issue a certificate of appealability
with respect to its denial of Petitioner's § 2254
Petition. (D.I. 27) For the reasons discussed, the Court will
deny Motion for Reconsideration.
September 21, 2018, the Court declined to issue a certificate
of appealability after denying in its entirety
Petitioner's § 2254 Petition challenging
Petitioner's 2009 convictions for first degree murder,
attempted first degree murder, first degree reckless
endangering, and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a felony. (D.I. 23 at 18; D.I. 24) Petitioner
filed a notice of appeal in the Third Circuit Court of
Appeals. (D.I. 25; D.I. 26) On October 19, 2018, Petitioner
filed in this Court the pending Motion for Reconsideration.
(D.I. 53) On January 31, 2019, the Third Circuit issued an
Order staying Petitioner's appeal until the disposition
of the Motion for Reconsideration. (D.I. 30)
motion for reargument/reconsideration may be filed pursuant
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 60(b). Although motions under Rule 59(e) and
Rule 60(b) serve similar functions, each has a particular
purpose. See United States v. Fiorelli, 337 F.3d
282, 288 (3d Cir. 2003). For instance, Rule 59(e) is "a
device . .. used to allege legal error, " and may only be
used to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present
newly-discovered evidence. See Howard Hess Dental Labs,
Inc. v. Dentsplj Int'l Inc., 602 F.3d 237, 251 (3d
Cir. 2010). The scope of a Rule 59(e) motion is extremely
limited, and it may not be used as an opportunity to
relitigate the case. See Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d
397, 414 (3d Cir. 2011); see also Brambles USA Inc. v.
Blacker, 735 F.Supp. 1239, 1240 (D. Del. 1990). The
moving party must show one of the following in order to
prevail on a Rule 59(e) motion: (1) an intervening change in
the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence
that was not available when the court issued its order; or
(3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to
prevent a manifest injustice. See Max's Seafood Cafe
v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). A Rule
59(e) motion "must be filed no later than 28 days after
the entry of the judgment."
contrast, "Rule 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." Gonale v. Crosby,
545 U.S. 524, 528 (2005). A motion filed pursuant to Rule
60(b) is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court
guided by accepted legal principles applied in light of all
relevant circumstances,  but may be granted only in
extraordinary circumstances. SeeMoolenaar v. Gov't of
Virgin Islands, 822 F.2d 1342, 1346 (3d Cir. 1987).
district court is presented with a Rule 60(b) motion for
reconsideration after it has denied the petitioner's
federal habeas petition, the court must determine if the
motion constitutes a second or successive application under
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
("AEDPA"). Under AEDPA, a prisoner cannot file a
second or successive habeas petition without first obtaining
approval from the court of appeals and, absent such
authorization, a district court cannot consider the merits of
a subsequent petition. See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(b)(3)(A); Robinson v. Johnson, 313 F.3d 128,
139-40 (3d Cir. 2002). A district court presented with an
unauthorized second or successive habeas petition must either
"dismiss the petition or transfer it to the court of
appeals pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631."
Robinson, 313 F.3d at 139.
Third Circuit precedent requires a district court to view a
timely Rule 59(e) motion as lying "outside the reach of
the jurisdictional limitations that AEDPA imposes upon
multiple collateral attacks." Blystone, 664
F.3d at 414. In other words, timely Rule 59(e) motions to
amend or alter judgment are materially different from Rule
60(b) motions for reconsideration, such that a timely Rule
59(e) motion does not constitute a second or successive
habeas petition even if it advances a habeas claim. Set
Id. at 413.
has not identified the authority under which he moves for
reconsideration. Since the instant Motion for reconsideration
was filed within 28 days of the entry of the Court's
judgment, the Court will treat the Motion as though filed
pursuant to Rule 59(e). See Holsworth v. Be% 322
Fed.Appx. 143, 146 (3d Cir. 2009); Rankin v.
Heckler, 761 F.2d 936, 942 (3d Cir. 1985)
("Regardless of how it is styled, a motion filed within
ten days of entry of judgment questioning the correctness of
judgment may be treated as a motion to amend or alter the
judgment under Rule 59(e)."). In addition, although
Petitioner appears to limit his reconsideration request to
the Court's denial of a certificate of appealability, the
Court liberally construes the Rule 59(e) Motion as a request
for the Court to reconsider its denial of Petitioner's
§ 2254 Petition as well as its refusal to issue a
certificate of appealability.
Petitioner does not assert any intervening change in law, the
availability of previously unavailable evidence, or a
"clear error of law" of the sort that would compel
reconsideration of the Court's denial of the § 2254
Petition or its refusal to issue a certificate of
appealability. Instead, he re-asserts a previously-considered
argument along with numerous previously-available exhibits.
Accordingly, the Court will deny the instant Rule 59(e)