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Harris v. Hardeman County

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

June 10, 2015

MARTHA J. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
HARDEMAN COUNTY, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER TO MODIFY THE DOCKET, DENYING MOTION TO REMOVE MAGISTRATE JUDGE, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Martha J. Harris, filed a pro se civil complaint on March 25, 2013. (ECF No. 1.) On March 27, 2013, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 3.) United States Magistrate Judge Edward G. Bryant issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") on October 9, 2013, recommending that portions of the complaint be dismissed sua sponte pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and that process be served on Defendants Carolyn Hale, Patrick Perry, and Roger Sturgis.[1] (ECF No. 5.) The Court adopted the R&R on October 22, 2013. (ECF No. 7.)

Defendant Hale filed a motion for summary judgment on August 19, 2014. (ECF No. 37 & 38.) Plaintiff responded (ECF No. 39), and Magistrate Judge Bryant issued a second R&R on October 20, 2014, recommending that Hale's motion be granted (ECF No. 47). The Court also adopted that R&R and granted Hale's motion for summary judgment on November 7, 2014. (ECF No. 52.)

On November 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion asking that Magistrate Judge Bryant be taken off this case. (ECF No. 53.) Motions for recusal are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 144 and 28 U.S.C. § 455. Section 144 provides:

Whenever a party to any proceeding in a district court makes and files a timely and sufficient affidavit that the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse party, such judge shall proceed no further therein, but another judge shall be assigned to hear such proceeding.

In addition, § 455(a) provides that a judge shall be disqualified "in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Circumstances under which a judge must be disqualified include:

(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings;
(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;
(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser, or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case...;
(4) He knows that he... has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy;
(5) He or his spouse...:
(i) Is a party to the proceeding...;
(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the ...

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