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LAZOFSKY v. SOMMERSET BUS CO.

February 24, 1975

MIRIAM LAZOFSKY, Plaintiff,
v.
SOMMERSET BUS CO., INC., a/k/a SOMMERSET UNION BUS CO., INC., and JOHN TINNES, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiffs, v. KURT A. SANDBERG, Third-Party Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PLATT

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 PLATT, J.

 Plaintiff has moved for disqualification of the undersigned as trial judge pursuant to Title 28 of the United States Code § 144. Plaintiff has also moved to preclude defendants from filing opposition papers to her recusal motion. This latter application has been granted.

 Facts

 Plaintiff, a resident of New York, was injured in an automobile accident in New Jersey when a bus driven by the defendant TINNES (a New Jersey resident) and owned by the defendant SOMMERSET BUS CO., INC. (a New Jersey corporation) ran into her stopped automobile and drove the same into an automobile also stopped ahead of her being operated by the third-party defendant SANDBERG.

 Plaintiff was a victim of poliomyelitis at the age of five and her legs have been, in large part, paralyzed since said misfortune. As a consequence thereof, plaintiff has spent a good portion of her life in and out of various hospitals and, in addition, has been involved in one or more other accidents which contributed to her many problems. Notwithstanding these many handicaps and unfortunate occurrences, plaintiff managed to attend and graduate from college and law school, be admitted to the bar in this State, develop a private practice of her own here in Brooklyn and live an independent life without much, if any, outside help until this particular accident in 1972.

 Plaintiff claims that prior to this particular accident she was ambulatory with the aid of crutches and braces but subsequent thereto she has been totally confined to a wheel chair and is now for the most part dependent on other persons. Essentially she claims that in this accident she sustained sustantial injuries to her hip, her shoulder and her back.

 Plaintiff's case came on to be tried before the undersigned and a jury on December 16, 1974 and continued thereafter until January 7, 1975 when the Court granted defendants' motion for a mistrial predicated upon certain conduct of the plaintiff's attorney.

 The grounds of the motion for the Court to disqualify itself for bias are:

 1. That the Court "characterized my [plaintiff's] appearance in the courtroom as 'attorney' and 'lawyer'."

 2. That on motion of the defendants' counsel the Court declared a mistrial after counsel "realized that my [his] voice was choking and I [he] was starting to feel tears. I [he] turned my [his] back to both the Court and the Jury, walked through the rail of the well, and over my shoulder asked for a recess, and left the Courtroom."

 3. That the Court refused to "numerically balance the peremptory challenges allowed by the Court to the Jury panel in respect of a single plaintiff and a single defendant."

 4. That the Court restricted plaintiff's counsel in his re-direct examination of plaintiff and her physician.

 5. That the Court reversed a prior ruling made at the outset of the trial with respect to the admission of expert and other ...


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