United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISQUALIFY JUDGE
E. SELF, III, JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Disqualify Judge [Doc.
67] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455. In his motion,
Plaintiff seeks recusal of the undersigned based on
“bias” and “knowledge of disputed
evidentiary facts concerning” his case. [Doc. 67 at p.
U.S.C. § 455 generally provides that a judge
“shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which
his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” 28
U.S.C. § 455(a). The statute also enumerates certain
other circumstances requiring a judge to disqualify himself.
28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(1)-(5). In essence, Plaintiff's
primary complaint is that the Court is biased towards him.
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). In the Eleventh Circuit, “it
is well settled that the allegation of bias must show that
the bias is personal as distinguished from judicial in
nature.” Bolin v. Story, 225 F.3d 1234, 1239
(11th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted) (per curiam). As a result, “a judge's
rulings in the same or a related case are not a sufficient
basis for recusal, ” except in rare circumstances where
the previous proceedings demonstrate pervasive bias and
prejudice. Id.; see also Liteky v. United
States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994) (“[J]udicial
rulings alone almost never constitute [a] valid basis for a
bias or partiality recusal motion.”); McWhorter v.
City of Birmingham, 906 F.2d 674, 678 (11th Cir. 1990)
(“[The bias] must derive from something other than that
which the judge learned by participating in the
case, Plaintiff has not pointed to any specific facts showing
that any sort of extrajudicial bias existed, nor has
Plaintiff demonstrated that the Court's rulings exhibit
“such a high degree of . . . antagonism as to make fair
judgment impossible” or that any judge involved in his
cases in this district have a bias toward Plaintiff “so
extreme as to display clear inability to render fair
judgment.” See Liteky, 510 U.S. at 551, 555.
It is clear that “rulings against a litigant, no matter
how erroneous and how vigorously and consistently expressed,
are not a basis for disqualification of a judge on the
grounds of bias and prejudice.” See Maret v. United
States, 332 F.Supp. 324, 326 (E.D. Mo. 1971). Therefore,
Plaintiff's contention that judges assigned to his case
allegedly make “bad court decision(s), . . . totally
disregard the Plaintiff's protected U.S. Constitutional
1st & 13th Amendment right(s), ” or otherwise rule
against him somehow exhibits pervasive bias and prejudice is
simply incorrect. [Doc. 67 at p. 1].
the standard under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(1) requires
disqualification where the judge “has a personal bias
or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the
proceeding[.]” “Recusal under this subsection is
mandatory, because ‘the potential for conflicts of
interest are readily apparent.'” Patti,
337 F.3d at 1321 (quoting Murray v. Scott, 253 F.3d
1308, 1312 (11th Cir. 2001)). Again, Plaintiff fails to
establish any personal or pervasive bias on the part of the
undersigned or on behalf of Magistrate Judge Hyles, and
Plaintiff also fails to identify any specific “disputed
evidentiary facts” of which the Court might have
knowledge. Any knowledge gained through the course of a
judicial proceeding is not a “disputed evidentiary
fact” that requires recusal. United States v.
Bailey, 175 F.3d 966, 969 (11th Cir. 1999) (per curiam).
Instead, knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts must be
gained through an extrajudicial source to warrant recusal.
See Id. Plaintiff has not asserted that such
knowledge exists here.
Plaintiff's contentions that the undersigned and
Magistrate Judge Hyles have not ruled in his favor are not
alone sufficient to merit recusal, and Plaintiff has also
failed to show that the Court harbors the type of pervasive
bias or prejudice against him that would otherwise require
recusal. Moreover, the Court entered its Judgment [Doc. 66]
in this case on September 19, 2018, and Plaintiff failed to
undertake any subsequent appeal of that Judgment. Instead of
timely filing a Notice of Appeal, Plaintiff filed the instant
motion on October 2, 2018, and in accordance with the
Judgment and Defendant's Bill of Costs, the Clerk of
Court subsequently assessed his Taxation of Costs against
Plaintiff. See [Docs. 69-70]. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's motion is effectively rendered moot by his
failure to timely appeal the Court's Judgment and his
Motion to Disqualify Judge [Doc. 67] is