District Judge’s Recusal and Disqualification Decisions Reviewed for Abuse of Discretion — Quasi-Judicial Immunity Extends to Attorney Disciplinary (Grievance) Committees in New York

Neroni v. Coccoma, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1485 (2d Cir. Jan. 30, 2015):

Frederick J. Neroni appeals from the district court's judgment dismissing his complaint brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his constitutional rights and denying his motion to recuse Judge Sharpe.

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A district judge's decision not to recuse himself from a proceeding or disqualify counsel is reviewed for abuse of discretion. SEC v. Razmilovic, 738 F.3d 14, 30 (2d Cir. 2013) (recusal); GSI Commerce Solutions, Inc. v. BabyCenter, L.L.C., 618 F.3d 204, 209 (2d Cir. 2010) (disqualification). We affirm for substantially the same reasons stated by the district court in its well-reasoned opinion. Neroni v. Coccoma, No. 3:13-CV-1340, 2014 WL 2532482, at *4-14 (N.D.N.Y. June 5, 2014). Neroni argues that the district court erred by holding that the New York Committee on Professional Standards is "an arm of the appellate division." However, we have consistently [*3]  extended quasi-judicial immunity to attorney disciplinary committees. See Anonymous v. Ass'n of the Bar of City of New York, 515 F.2d 427, 433 (2d Cir. 1975) (noting that a Grievance Committee "acts as a quasi-judicial body" and thus "is an arm of the Appellate Division"), (quoting Wiener v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 331-32 (1968)).

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