United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
In re PHILLIP O. EMIABATA, Appellant,
SPECIALIZED LOAN SERVICING, LLC, and AVAIL 1 LLC, Appellees.
ORDER ON MOTION TO RECUSE
J. Pechman United States District Judge.
January 17, 2018, this Court entered an order denying
Appellant's request to stay execution of judgment pending
appeal. (Dkt. No. 11.) Appellant responded to that ruling by
filing a motion which requests (among other things) that this
Court recuse itself from presiding over this proceeding.
(Dkt. No. 14.) The Court declines to recuse herself and
refers this portion of Appellant's motion to the Chief
Judge of the District pursuant to Local Rule 3(e).
basis of Appellant's request appears to be his belief
“this Court Erred in law and [is] not THOROUGH in this
Case.” (Id. at 2.)(emphasis in original).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), a judge of the United
States shall disqualify herself in any proceeding in which
her impartiality “might reasonably be
questioned.” Federal judges also shall disqualify
themselves in circumstances where they have a personal bias
or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding. 28
U.S.C. § 455(b)(1).
both 28 U.S.C. §144 and 28 U.S.C. § 455, recusal of
a federal judge is appropriate if “a reasonable person
with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the
judge's impartiality might reasonably be
questioned.” Yagman v. Republic Insurance, 987
F.2d 622, 626 (9th Cir.1993). This is an objective inquiry
concerned with whether there is the appearance of bias, not
whether there is bias in fact. Preston v. United
States, 923 F.2d 731, 734 (9th Cir.1992); United
States v. Conforte, 624 F.2d 869, 881 (9th Cir.1980). In
Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540
(1994), the United States Supreme Court further explained the
narrow basis for recusal:
[J]udicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid
basis for a bias or partiality motion. . . . [O]pinions
formed by the judge on the basis of facts introduced or
events occurring in the course of the current proceedings, or
of prior proceedings, do not constitute a basis for a bias or
partiality motion unless they display a deep seated
favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment
impossible. Thus, judicial remarks during the course of a
trial that are critical or disapproving of, or even hostile
to, counsel, the parties, or their cases, ordinarily do not
support a bias or partiality challenge.
Id. at 555.
cites no other reason or evidence in support of his position
than the recent ruling of this Court. If he believes that
this Court's rulings are legally erroneous, he is
entitled to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to
overturn those rulings on any legitimate grounds he can
articulate. However, he is not entitled to recusal on that
similar vein, Appellant contends that his pro se
pleadings are not being construed with the liberality to
which they are entitled. (Id. at 3.) The Court
assures Appellant that it is doing its best to accommodate
the fact that he is not a trained legal professional and to
accord his pleadings a less stringent standard than that to
which it would hold a lawyer. However, that does not dispense
with the requirement that Appellant produce evidence which
satisfies the legal requirements for whatever ruling he is
seeking from the Court. It was his failure to present any
proof which satisfied the four-factor test for granting a
stay on appeal (set out in Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S.
418, 426 (2009)) that resulted in the denial of his motion,
and nothing else.
judge's conduct in the context of pending judicial
proceedings does not constitute the requisite bias under 28
U.S.C. § 144 or § 455 if it is prompted solely by
information that the judge received in the context of the
performance of her duties. Bias is almost never established
simply because the judge issued adverse rulings against a
order to overcome this presumption, Appellant would have to
show that facts outside the record influenced decisions or
that the judge's rulings were so irrational that they
must be the result of prejudice. Appellant does not allege
any facts outside the record that improperly influenced the
decisions in this matter.
Court declines Appellant's request that she recuse
herself. Appellant's motion for recusal is referred to
the Chief Judge of the District for decision pursuant to
Local Rule 3(e) and the Clerk of the Court is directed to
place the motion for the recusal of this Court on the Chief
Judge's motions calendar.
action and all motions currently pending before the Court are
hereby STAYED pending resolution of the recusal issue. No.
further motions shall be filed in this matter until the stay
is lifted. Any motions filed while the ...