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Bradfield v. Easterling

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

March 31, 2017

RONNIE BRADFIELD a/k/a PAUL FARNSWORTH, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE EASTERLING, ET AL., Defendants.

         ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME AS MOOT, DENYING MOTION FOR RECUSAL, PARTIALLY GRANTING MOTION TO REHEAR, DENYING MOTION TO COMPEL, FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AND FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, AND DIRECTING CLERK TO SERVE SEALED DOCUMENTS ON DEFENDANTS

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On March 29, 2016, the Court issued an order that, inter alia, denied Plaintiff Ronnie Bradfield's motion to strike the Affidavit of Alicia Cox, which was submitted in support of Defendant Andre Gilbert's motion for summary judgment, denied Plaintiff's objection to Gilbert's Statement of Undisputed Facts, and denied Plaintiff's motion to file a surreply in support of his cross motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 133 at 1-4.) The Court also ordered Plaintiff to serve Defendants' counsel with additional copies of his replies to summary judgment, which were filed under seal, because counsel for the Defendants did not receive those documents. (Id. at 5-6.)

         Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for extension of time to respond to the Court's order (ECF No. 134) and a motion to rehear the March 29 order and for recusal (ECF No. 135). The motion for extension of time is DENIED as moot because Plaintiff's motion to rehear was received the same day.

         In Plaintiff's motion for recusal he contends the undersigned Judge should recuse himself from this matter because of rulings in this case that were unfavorable to Plaintiff. 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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