United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ASHLEY ROYAL, SENIOR JUDGE
March 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”),
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc, et seq., alleging
numerous violations of his statutory and constitutional
rights (ECF No. 1). On August 20, 2015, the Court entered an
order denying Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and dismissing Plaintiff's Complaint after
finding that Plaintiff's allegations of poverty were
untruthful (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff appealed. On August 31,
2017, the Eleventh Circuit issued its order and opinion
finding that the Court had erred by failing to allow
Plaintiff an opportunity to be heard about the truthfulness
of his allegations of poverty and remanding the case to
provide Plaintiff with such opportunity (ECF No. 49). The
Eleventh Circuit issued its mandate on September 6, 2017.
Plaintiff has since filed a motion for recusal of the
undersigned (ECF No. 53) and a motion to expedite the
proceedings (ECF No. 52). For the following reasons, the
Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion to
recuse and REMANDS Plaintiff's claims to
the United States Magistrate Judge for a timely review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Plaintiff's motion to
expedite is therefore DENIED as moot.
Motion to Recuse
has filed a motion in which he alleges that the undersigned
judge should recuse himself from this case. 28 U.S.C. §
455 provides the standard for when a judge, justice, or
magistrate judge must disqualify himself from a particular
proceeding. The statute generally provides that a
judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in
which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Id. at § 455(a). The statute also enumerates
certain other circumstances requiring a judge to disqualify
himself. Id. at § 455(b)(1)-(5).
does not specify which statutory circumstances apply to this
case, but he alleges that the Court's past rulings
“show . . . a deep-seated bias, prejudice, hostility,
and antagonism against Plaintiff” and that the Court
“is not taking Plaintiff's claims
seriously” and “has a proclivity to
rubberstamp-deny or dismiss anything Plaintiff files.”
Mot. Recuse 2, ECF No. 53. Plaintiff further contends that if
he “is to receive fair consideration, it is going to
have to be from a judge other than Judge Royal.”
Id. at 3. Plaintiff may thus be relying on either
subsection (a) or subsection (b)(1), which provides that a
judge should recuse himself “[w]here he has a personal
bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge
of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the
proceeding[.]” The standard under subsection (a) is
objective and requires the Court to ask “whether an
objective, disinterested lay observer fully informed of the
facts underlying the grounds on which recusal was sought
would entertain significant doubt about the judge's
impartiality.” United States v. Patti, 337
F.3d 1317, 1321 (11th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks
omitted). 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(1) requires the judge to
“disqualify himself where . . . he actually
‘has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party,
or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding.'” United States v.
Amedeo, 487 F.3d 823, 828 (11th Cir. 2007) (emphasis in
original) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)); see also
Patti, 337 F.3d at 1321 (noting the existence of the
specific circumstances set forth in § 455(b)(1)
“show the fact of partiality”). Under both
sections, the bias sufficient to disqualify a judge
“must stem from extrajudicial sources, unless the
judge's acts demonstrate such pervasive bias and
prejudice that it unfairly prejudices one of the
parties.” United States v. Bailey, 175 F.3d
966, 968 (11th Cir. 1999) (per curiam) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted). Thus, “judicial rulings
alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or
partiality recusal motion” except in rare circumstances
where “they reveal such a high degree of favoritism or
antagonism as to make fair judgment impossible.”
Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994).
Even in cases where a judge's comments “evince
frustration” with a litigant, if the “frustration
stems solely from judicial sources”-i.e., the
litigant's conduct before the court-the judge will not
typically “be required to recuse under §
455.” See Perkins, 787 F.3d at 1342-43;
see also Liteky, 510 U.S. at 555 (“[J]udicial
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
to Plaintiff's assertions, the Court's decisions in
Plaintiff's cases simply do not reveal a pervasive bias
or demonstrate that the Court has failed to consider the
merits of each of Plaintiff's filings. In at least one of
the cases cited by Plaintiff, the order at issue was entered
by a United States Magistrate Judge, not the undersigned.
Order, ECF No. 114 in Nolley v. Nelson,
5:15-cv-00075 (M.D. Ga. May 10, 2017) (order denying Mr.
Daker's motion to intervene). In another example cited by
Plaintiff, the same substantive relief that was denied by the
undersigned was independently denied in other cases by at
least two other judges in this district. Compare
Order, ECF No. 112 in Nolley v. McLaughlin, No.
5:15-cv-000149-CAR-CHW (M.D. Ga. Aug. 15, 2017) (denying Mr.
Daker's motion to intervene) with Order, ECF No.
92 in Upshaw v. McLaughlin, No.
5:15-cv-00395-MTT-MSH (M.D. Ga. Oct. 16, 2017) (denying Mr.
Daker's motion to intervene); Order, ECF No. 172 in
Smith v. Owens, No. 5:12-cv-00026-WLS-CHW (M.D. Ga.
Oct. 4, 2017) (denying Mr. Daker's motion to intervene).
In yet another case cited by Plaintiff, the Court exercised
its discretion to transfer claims to the Southern District of
Georgia rather than dismissing them altogether and granted
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration in part.
See Order, ECF No. 17 in Daker v. Bryson,
No. 5:16-cv-000538-CAR-MSH (M.D. Ga. June 8, 2017)
(transferring some claims to the Southern District of Georgia
rather than ordering dismissal of claims); Order, ECF No. 27
in Daker v. Bryson, No. 5:16-cv-000538-CAR-MSH (M.D.
Ga. Aug. 17, 2017) (granting in part Plaintiff's motion
to the extent Plaintiff takes issue with the Court's
statements regarding Plaintiff's extensive filing
history, such statements are not indicative of bias; they are
an acknowledgment of fact. A review of court records on the
PACER Case Locator reveals Plaintiff has now filed more than
175 civil cases or appeals in the federal courts.
See Pacer Case Locator,
https://pcl.uscourts.gov/search (search Daker,
Waseem) (last visited Oct. 20, 2017). In just one of those
cases pending before this Court, Plaintiff filed more than a
dozen notices of appeal or amended or duplicate notices of
appeal and nearly150 separate motions. Daker v.
Owens, No. 5:12-cv-00459-CAR-MSH (M.D. Ga. Nov. 20,
2012). It is beyond reasonable dispute that Plaintiff's
tendency to file multiple, duplicative lawsuits, motions, and
appeals-and to routinely amend, supplement, and request
reconsideration of these filings-causes delay and confusion,
frustrates the orderly disposition of Plaintiff's claims,
and results in the denial or dismissal of many of his
Plaintiff has failed to show that the Court “had
developed a personal or extrajudicial bias
against” Plaintiff or that “a fully-informed lay
observer would entertain a significant doubt about the
district judges's impartiality.” Amedeo,
487 F.3d at 829 (emphasis in original). Recusal is therefore
not warranted under either § 455(b)(1) or § 455(a),
and Plaintiff's motion for recusal (ECF No. 53) is
Motion to Expedite
has also filed a motion to expedite in which he notes that
this case has been pending for more than two and a half
years, and he requests that the initial screening under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A and “any and all other
proceedings” be expedited as a result. Mot. Expedite 1,
ECF No. 52. The Court acknowledges the length of time
Plaintiff's case has been pending and accordingly
REMANDS Plaintiff's claims to the United
States Magistrate Judge who is instructed to conduct the
initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A and § 1915(e) in a reasonably timely
manner. Plaintiff's motion to expedite these proceedings
(ECF No. 52) is therefore DENIED as moot.
 28 U.S.C. § 144 also governs
recusal, but it requires the moving party to file an
affidavit stating that the judge has a personal bias or
prejudice against the plaintiff or defendant, and the
affidavit must provide facts and reasons for the belief that
bias or prejudice exists. Plaintiff has not filed such an
affidavit, and this requirement is strictly enforced.
See, e.g., United States v. Perkins, 787 F.3d 1329,
1343 (11th Cir. 2015) (finding that the court did not abuse
its discretion by denying litigant's pro se motion for
recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 144 because the affidavit did