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BROWN v. CITY OF ONEONTA

February 19, 1996

RICKY BROWN, et al., Plaintiffs, against CITY OF ONEONTA, et al., Defendants.

Thomas J. McAvoy, Chief U.S. District Judge


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCAVOY

I. BACKGROUND

 The facts of this case are well-known to the court and the parties. Accordingly, the court will not recite them herein.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard For Reconsideration

 "A court is justified in reconsidering its previous ruling if: (1) there is an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) new evidence not previously available comes to light; or (3) it becomes necessary to remedy a clear error of law or to prevent obvious injustice." Hester Industries, Inc. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 160 F.R.D. 15, 16 (N.D.N.Y. 1995) (citing, Larsen v. Ortega, 816 F. Supp. 97, 114 (D.Conn. 1992), aff'd, 990 F.2d 623 (1993)); Nossek v. Brd. of Educ. of the Duanesburgh Central School Dist., 1994 WL 688298 (N.D.N.Y. 1994). The Court cautions at the outset that, although "clear error" and "preventing injustice" are valid grounds for reconsideration, the parties seeking reconsideration must not use this vehicle as a means to relitigate issues previously decided by the Court, or to attempt to "sway the judge" one last time. See Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. v. Veneglia, 897 F. Supp. 38, 40 (N.D.N.Y. 1995) (citation omitted). With these standards in mind, the Court now turns to the issues raised.

 B. Defendant Hartmark

 The defendant Hartmark argues that the court should have dismissed the Equal Protection claims asserted against him with prejudice, rather than without as is stated in the January 3, 1996 Order at issue. It is argued that because the court dismissed the complaint against the state defendants with prejudice, based on the evidentiary record obtained through discovery, the court should so rule with respect to the defendant Hartmark. The reason for this claim is the affidavit of the defendant Hartmark, wherein he states that he is not "aware" of any past instance where the police, investigating a violent crime allegedly committed by a young white male, sought information from SUCO officials and the officials declined to comply. This "evidence" is very different from evidence that, in fact, no such instances had occurred. In the face of the defendant Hartmark's uncorroborated statement, the court cannot say that, as a matter of law, the defendant Hartmark has not violated the Equal Protection clause. That remains to be decided by the fact finder at trial. Accordingly, the court denies the defendant Hartmark's motion for reconsideration.

 C. State Defendants

 1. Wilson, Jackson, and Hunt

 The plaintiffs do not oppose the state defendant's motion to correct the court misidentification of the defendants Wilson, Jackson, and Hunt as state police defendants. Upon review of the affidavits submitted by each in support of this motion, the court hereby dismisses the Fourth Amendment claims set forth against the defendants Wilson, Jackson, and Hunt.

 2. Clum

 The plaintiffs oppose the dismissal of the Fourth Amendment claims submitted against the defendant Clum. In essence, the plaintiffs argue that the affidavit submitted by the defendant Clum in connection with this motion could, and should, have been submitted with the summary judgment motion, and thus should not be considered by the court at this time. See Music Research, Inc. v. Vanguard Recording Soc., Inc., 547 F.2d 192, 196 (2d Cir. 1976). The court notes, however, that Music Research states that evidentiary issues are within the "broad discretion" of the trial court. 547 F.2d at 195 (stated in the context of a ruling as to the sufficiency of the evidence as it relates to a motion to set aside a verdict).

 Upon a review of the affidavit submitted by the defendant Clum, and after consideration of the effect of the court's accepting the affidavit at this time, the court decides that it is appropriate for the court to consider the defendant Clum's affidavit. It is clear that if the court dismisses the Fourth Amendment claims asserted against the defendant Clum, that the plaintiffs Quinones, Jennings, and Plaskett will have no claims asserted against him. The court can see no reason to exclude such potentially dispositive evidence on the sole basis of tardiness. The plaintiffs have ...


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