United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
pending before the Court is a second set of objections filed
by pro se Plaintiff Angelo Bernard Banks (ECF No.
16) in which Plaintiff again objects to the United States
Magistrate Judge's June 11, 2019 recommendation to
dismiss certain claims and to allow others to proceed for
further factual development. See Objs. 1-2, Aug. 15,
2019, ECF No. 16. Plaintiff also appears to request that
Magistrate Judge Hyles be “release[d]” from this
case. Id. at 2. For the following reasons, the Court
declines to remove Magistrate Judge Hyles from this case and
overrules Plaintiff's currently pending objections.
Motion for Recusal
Court will first liberally construe Plaintiff's request
that Magistrate Judge Hyles be “release[d]” from
this case as a motion to recuse pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
455, which 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.”
28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The statute also enumerates certain
other circumstances requiring a judge to disqualify himself.
Id. at § 455(b)(1)-(5). Plaintiff suggests that
the Magistrate Judge's rulings against him are based upon
“inferred prejudice” that will
“threaten” the future proceedings in his case.
See Objs. 2, Aug. 16, 2019, ECF No. 16. Plaintiff
may thus be relying on either subsection (a) or subsection
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.”). In this case, Plaintiff has not pointed to any
specific facts showing that any sort of extrajudicial bias
existed, nor has Plaintiff demonstrated that the Magistrate
Judge's rulings exhibit “such a high degree of . .
. antagonism as to make fair judgment impossible” or a
bias toward Plaintiff “so extreme as to display clear
inability to render fair judgment.” See
Liteky, 510 U.S. at 551, 555.
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 has failed to establish any personal or pervasive
bias on the part 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 Magistrate Judge Hyles has
not ruled in his favor are not alone sufficient to merit
recusal, and Plaintiff has also failed to show that
Magistrate Judge Hyles harbors the type of pervasive bias or
prejudice against Plaintiff that would otherwise require
recusal. Plaintiff's request for recusal is therefore
pending before the Court is a second set of objections filed
by Plaintiff again challenging Magistrate Judge's June
11, 2019 Order and Recommendation to dismiss certain of
Plaintiff's claims and to direct service on the remaining
Defendants. In this second set of objections, Plaintiff
states that the Magistrate Judge improperly delayed entering
his Order and Recommendation and further objects to
“the entire findings of facts and some legal
authorities, contained within the Magistrate Judge's
report and recommendations[.]” Objs. 2, Aug. 15, 2019,
ECF No. 16. Plaintiff also acknowledges, however, that he
already objected to the June 11, 2019 Order and
Recommendation. Id. at 1. These prior objections
were considered by the Court and found to be without merit on
August 9, 2019. See generally Order, Aug, 9, 2019,
ECF No. 15.
Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(2), which Plaintiff invokes in
this case, provides, “Within 14 days after being served
with a copy of the recommended disposition, a party may serve
and file specific written objections to the proposed findings
and recommendations.” Plaintiff's currently pending
objections were clearly filed more than fourteen days after
the June 11, 2019 Order and Recommendation that Plaintiff
again purports to challenge. Moreover, Plaintiff's
objections are not at all “specific, ” as
required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff
offers no explanation for this untimely second set of
objections; nor does he point to any particular reason why
the Court should reconsider its Order adopting the Magistrate
Judge's Order and Recommendation. As such, Plaintiff's
objections (ECF No. 16) are overruled.
foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES
Plaintiff's request to “release” Magistrate
Judge Hyles from this case and OVERRULES
Plaintiff's Objections (ECF No. 16).