Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Recusal — Unhappiness with Judge’s Rulings Is Not a Basis for Recusal — Alleged Bias and Prejudice Must Stem from an Extrajudicial Source and Result in a Merits Decision on Extrajudicial Basis

Watkins v. Smith, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5968 (2d Cir. April 1, 2014):

As for the plaintiff's motion for recusal, the fact that Plaintiff-Appellant and Appellants were unhappy with the district court's  [*3] legal rulings and other case management decisions is not a basis for recusal, and under no circumstances justifies the utterly unsubstantiated allegations of racial and economic prejudice, dishonesty, senility, and fraud lodged against the district court. See In re Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 618 F.2d 923, 927 (2d Cir. 1980) ("'The alleged bias and prejudice to be disqualifying [under 28 U.S.C.§ 455] must stem from an extrajudicial source and result in an opinion on the merits on some basis other than what the judge has learned from his participation in the case.'") (quoting United States v. Grinnell Corp., 384 U.S. 563, 583 (1966)). Nor can we find any justification for the similar allegations that the plaintiff and his counsel lodged, throughout the proceedings below, against many of the defendants-appellees.

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