United States District Court, S.D. New York
Attorneys for Plaintiff WIGDOR LLP, By: Douglas H. Wigdor,
Esq., Lawrence M. Pearson, Esq., Michael J. Willemin, Esq.
Attorneys for Defendants ARNOLD & PORTER LLP., By:
Michael D. Schissel, Esq. Kathleen A. Reilly.
W. SWEET U.S.D.J.
Jennifer Sharkey ("Plaintiff" or
"Sharkey") has moved pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 144 and 455 for recusal and reassignment of this
action to another judge. Defendants J.P. Morgan Case &
Co. ("JPMC"), Joe Kenney ("Kenney"), Adam
Green ("Green") and Leslie Lassiter
("Lassiter") (collectively, the
"Defendants") oppose the motion. Upon the findings
and conclusions set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is
parties are familiar with the prior proceedings, including
the motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and
other motions since the case was filed in this Court on May
motion was first initiated by Plaintiff's January 26,
2017 letter requesting a conference to discuss the
Court's bias against the Plaintiff in order to "not
draw further attention to this matter." The letter was
treated as a motion to reassign the case, was fully briefed
and heard on March 2, 2017. On that date, Plaintiff requested
an adjournment to file a more formal motion under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 144 and 455, which was heard and marked fully
submitted on April 12, 2017.
28 U.S.C. § 144:
Whenever a party to any proceeding in a district court makes
and files a timely and sufficient affidavit that the judge
before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or
prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse
party, such judge shall proceed no further therein, but
another judge shall be assigned to hear such proceeding.
The affidavit shall state the facts and the reasons for the
belief that bias or prejudice exists, and shall be filed not
less than ten days before the beginning of the term at which
the proceeding is to be heard, or good cause shall be shown
for failure to file it within such time. A party may file
only one such affidavit in any case. It shall be accompanied
by a certificate of counsel of record stating that it is made
in good faith.
text of Section 144 establishes that another district court
judge shall be assigned to hear the matter if the movant
establishes that the motion is timely and the party's
affidavit is sufficient. The district judge whose personal
bias or prejudice is in question "must review the facts
included in the affidavit for their legal sufficiency and not
recuse himself or herself unnecessarily." Williams
v. New York City Housing Auth., 287 F.Supp.2d
247, 249 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (quoting Rosen v. Sugarman,
357 F.2d 794, 797 (2d Cir. 1966). "To be legally
sufficient under Section 144, an affidavit must show 'the
objectionable inclination or disposition of the judge'
[and] it must give 'fair support to the charge of a bent
of mind that may prevent or impede impartiality of
judgment.'" Hoffenberg v. United States,
333 F.Supp.2d 166, 171 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (quoting
Rosen, 357 F.2d at 798 (quoting Berger v. United
States, 255 U.S. 22, 33-35 (1921)) .
28 U.S.C. § 455(a), "Any justice, judge, or
magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify
himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might
reasonably be questioned." The Second Circuit applies
this standard by asking whether '"an objective,
disinterested observer fully informed of the underlying
facts, [would] entertain significant doubt that justice would
be done absent recusal, ' or alternatively, whether
'a reasonable person, knowing all the facts, ' would
question the judge's impartiality." United
States v. Yousef, 327 F.3d 56, 169 (2d Cir. 2003)
(quoting United States v. Lovaglia, 954 F.2d 811,
815 (2d Cir. 1992) (citations omitted)).
Affidavit Fails to Meet the ...