United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JANET T. NEFF United States District Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion to Disqualify District
Judge Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 144 and § 455 (Dkt
34). Defendants have filed a Response in opposition (Dkt 37).
Having fully considered Plaintiffs arguments, the Court
denies the motion.
Vernon Eugene Proctor, M.D., moves to disqualify the
undersigned from presiding over this case. Plaintiffs motion
is based on purported comments and conduct of the undersigned
in proceedings in this case; in Plaintiffs related case,
Proctor v. Waldmiller, l:16-cv-413-JTN, which has
since been dismissed by the parties' stipulation; and in
a third unrelated case to which Plaintiff was not a party,
but which involved plaintiffs counsel, J. Nicholas Bostic,
Hill v. Whitford, 1:12-cv-291 - JTN, a case which
was administratively closed in May 2015. Plaintiff argues
that the cited comments and conduct reflect a
predetermination of the validity of the cases, convey the
appearance of impropriety, and demonstrate a bias toward the
plaintiffs in these cases.
U.S.C. § 144 provides for district judge recusal for
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.
The affidavit shall state the facts and the reasons for the
belief that bias or prejudice exists, and shall be filed not
less than ten days before the beginning of the term at which
the proceeding is to be heard, or good cause shall be shown
for failure to file it within such time. A party may file
only one such affidavit in any case. It shall be accompanied
by a certificate of counsel of record stating that it is made
in good faith.
28 U.S.C. § 144; see Liteky v. United States,
510 U.S. 540, 544 (1994).
28 U.S.C. § 455 likewise provides for recusal, stating
in relevant part:
(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United
States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which
his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following
(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a
party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding;
See Bell v. Johnson,
404 F.3d 997, 1004-05 (6th Cir.
2005) (addressing the standard under § 455(a)-(b)).
Plaintiff does not distinguish any specific arguments
concerning 28 U.S.C. § 144. In any event, as the Supreme
Court explained in Liteky, 510 U.S. at 548,
subsection (b)(1) of 28 U.S.C. § 455 entirely duplicates
the grounds of recusal set forth in § 144 ("bias or
prejudice), but (1) makes them applicable to all
justices, judges, and magistrates (not just district judges),
and (2) places the obligation on the judge to identify
grounds for recusal, rather than requiring recusal only in