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United States District Court, S.D. New York

October 5, 2005.

CHARLES WATSON, a/k/a "Jean Bernier," Petitioner,

The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge


By an opinion and order of this Court dated December 23, 2004 and entered on the docket on January 7, 2005, the petition of Charles Watson, a/k/a Jean Bernier ("Watson") to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 was denied as time-barred. See Watson v. United States, No. 04 Civ. 2222 (RWS), 2004 WL 2984303 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2004) (the "Opinion"). Familiarity with the opinion is presumed.

By letter dated December 30, 2004 submitted by Watson pro se and received by the Court on January 4, 2005, Watson sought reconsideration of the Opinion on the grounds that Watson did not have the benefit of assigned counsel's response to the Government's opposition.*fn1 According to Watson, his reply papers submitted pro se specifically noted that the statute of limitations were not being discussed therein and would be left for assigned counsel to address.

  The return date for Watson's motion for reconsideration, originally set for February 9, 2005, was adjourned several times and ultimately marked fully submitted on September 9, 2005.

  For the reasons set forth below, Watson's motion for reconsideration is denied.


  A motion to reconsider "is to be treated as a Rule 59(e) motion if filed within 10 days of entry of the challenged order and as a Rule 60(b) motion if filed thereafter." United States v. Clark, 984 F.2d 31, 32 (2d Cir. 1993); see also Jones v. UNUM Life Ins. Co. of Am., 223 F.3d 130, 136-37 (2d Cir. 2000) ("We have long held that a postjudgment motion made within 10 days after entry of judgment, if it involves reconsideration of matters properly encompassed in a decision on the merits, is to be deemed a motion to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e), thereby extending the time of the parties to appeal."); Lichtenberg v. Besicorp Group Inc., 204 F.3d 397, 401 (2d Cir. 2000) ("A postjudgment motion requesting alteration or amendment of the judgment but denominated a motion under a Rule other than Civil Rule 59(e) is generally treated as having been made under Rule 59(e), thereby extending the time to appeal, if the motion was filed within the 10-day period allowed for a Rule 59(e) motion."); McCowan v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 908 F.2d 1099, 1103 (2d Cir. 1990) ("[M]ost substantive motions brought within ten days of the entry of judgment are functionally motions under Rule 59(e), regardless of their label or whether relief might also have been obtained under another provision."); Shapiro v. Kronfeld, No. 00 Civ. 6286 (RWS), 2005 WL 183137, *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 27, 2005) ("The decision to construe [defendant's] motion under Rule 60(b) rather than Rule 59(e) is of little import, as the standards applied under either motion are, for the purposes relevant here, the same.").

  Local Civil Rule 6.3 also governs motions for reconsideration in this district and provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

A notice of motion for reconsideration or re-argument of a court order determining a motion shall be served within ten (10) days after the entry of the court's determination of the original motion, or in the case of a court order resulting in a judgment, within ten (10) days after the entry of judgment. There shall be served with the notice of motion a memorandum setting forth concisely the matters or controlling decisions which counsel believes the court has overlooked . . .
Local Civ. R. 6.3. Motions to alter or amend judgments under Rule 59(e) and for reconsideration under Local Civil Rule 6.3 are evaluated under the same standard. See Word v. Croce, No. 01 Civ. 9614 (LTS), 2004 WL 434038, at * 2 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 9, 2004); Williams v. New York City Dep't of Corr., 219 F.R.D. 78, 83 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); Griffin Indus., Inc. v. Petrojam, Ltd., 72 F. Supp. 2d 365, 368 (S.D.N.Y. 1999). On a motion made pursuant to either rule, "`the moving party must demonstrate controlling law or factual matters put before the court on the underlying motion that the movant believes the court overlooked and that might reasonably be expected to alter the court's decision.'" Word, 2004 WL 434038, at *2 (quoting Parrish v. Sollecito, 253 F. Supp. 2d 713, 715 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)); see also Williams, 219 F.R.D. at 83. Alternatively, "`reconsideration may be granted to correct clear error, prevent manifest injustice or review the court's decision in light of the availability of new evidence.'" Word, 2004 WL 434038, at *2 (quoting Parrish, 253 F. Supp. 2d at 715).

  Rule 59(e) is not an appropriate vehicle for a party dissatisfied with a court's ruling to secure a rehearing on the merits with respect to issues already decided, see USA Certified Merchants, LLC v. Koebel, 273 F. Supp. 2d 501, 503 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); Parrish, 253 F. Supp. 2d at 715; Griffin Indus., Inc. v. Petrojam, Ltd., 72 F. Supp. 2d 365, 368 (S.D.N.Y. 1999), or to advance "`new facts, issues or arguments not previously presented to the court.'" Williams, 219 F.R.D. at 83 (quoting Wechsler v. Hunt Health Sys., Ltd., 186 F. Supp. 2d 402, 410 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)). In other words, "[a] party seeking reconsideration `is not supposed to treat the court's initial decision as the opening of a dialogue in which that party may then use such a motion to advance new theories or adduce new evidence in response to the court's rulings.'" Wechsler, 186 F. Supp. 2d at 410 (quoting Polsby v. St. Martin's Press, Inc., No. 97 Civ. 690 (MBM), 2000 WL 98057, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2000)). Thus, Rule 59(e) should be "narrowly construed and strictly applied so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have been considered fully by the Court," Williams, 219 F.R.D. at 83, and "to prevent the rule from being used as a substitute for appealing a final judgment." USA Certified Merchants, 273 F. Supp. 2d at 503.

  "Reconsideration of a court's previous order is an `extraordinary remedy to be employed sparingly in the interests of finality and conservation of scarce judicial resources.'" Montanile v. Nat'l Broad. Co., 216 F. Supp. 2d 341, 342 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) (quoting In re Health Mgmt. Sys. Inc. Secs. Litig., 113 F. Supp. 2d 613, 614 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)); see also USA Certified Merchants, 273 F. Supp. 2d at 503.

  Neither Watson, in his pro se filings, nor his attorney have pointed to new evidence or evidence overlooked in connection with the decision rendered in the Opinion. Furthermore, neither has cited any controlling law overlooked by the Court in reaching the conclusions expressed in the Opinion. Instead, Watson presents new, and previously unraised, arguments to the Court, asserting that Watson's habeas petition, originally filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, should be considered under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and relief granted pursuant to the Suspension Clause of the Constitution. Alternatively, Watson argues that the time bar imposed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") and interpreted by this Circuit in Mickens v. United States, 148 F.3d 145 (2d Cir. 1998), and Ross v. Artuz, 150 F.3d 97 (2d Cir. 1998), violates the Constitution and should not apply to his habeas petition because "[t]he original drafters read the Suspension Clause as protecting against Congressional interference with the power of the federal courts to release state and federal prisoners on habeas corpus." (Watson's Reply Memorandum of Law, May 1, 2005, p. 8) (citing The Suspension Clause in the Ratification Debates, 44 Buffalo L. Rev. 451). Both of these arguments, never previously heard by the Court, fly in the face of well-settled Second Circuit law and are unavailing as grounds for reconsideration.

  Since Watson has failed to demonstrate that the Court, in arriving at its Opinion, overlooked any factual matter or controlling authority that were put before it in connection with the underlying motion, reconsideration of the Opinion concerning the timeliness of Watson's petition is not warranted.

  It is so ordered.


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