United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECUSAL
FEDERICO A. MORENO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
two months after the Court dismissed their case, Plaintiffs
filed this motion for recusal. Their motion stems from a
former law clerk's representation of Defendants in this
matter, which Plaintiffs filed more than six years after his
clerkship term ended. After carefully considering the
statutory standards and the case law, the Court concludes
that the motion for recusal should be denied.
CAUSE came before the Court upon Plaintiffs' Motion for
Recusal (D.E. No. 57), filed on August
COURT has considered the motion, the response, and the
pertinent portions of the record, and being otherwise fully
advised in the premises, it is
that the motion is DENIED for the reasons stated in this
Standard and Analysis
federal statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 455 and 144, govern
recusal and courts must construe them in pari materia.
Ray v. Equifax Information Servs., LLC, 327 Fed.Appx.
819, 824 (11th Cir. 2009). Under these statutes, judges are
presumed to be impartial and the movant bears the burden of
demonstrating an objectively reasonable basis for questioning
the judge's impartiality. HPC U.S. Fund J, L.P. v.
Wood, 182 F.Supp.3d 1284, 1287 (S.D. Fla. 2016).
455(a) requires a district judge to recuse "in any
proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be
questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a); Thomasv.
Tenneco Packaging Co., 293 F.3d 1306, 1329 (11th Cir.
2002). Section 455(b)(1) requires judges to disqualify
themselves "where [they] have a personal bias or
prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding."
In Thomas, the Eleventh Circuit stated:
Under § 455, the standard is whether an objective, fully
informed lay observer would entertain significant doubt about
the judge's impartiality. Furthermore, the general rule
is that bias sufficient to disqualify a judge must stem from
Id. (internal quotations omitted) (quoting
Christo v. Padgett, 223 F.3d 1324, 1333 (11th Cir.
2000) and Hamm v. Bd. of Regents, 708 F.2d 647, 651
(11th Cir. 1983)); Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S.
Motion to Recuse filed under 28 U.S.C. § 144 is aimed at
recusing a judge for actual bias, as well as the appearance
of impropriety. The section requires a party's timely
affidavit, which must be submitted along with counsel's
additional certification of good faith. Section 144 reads as
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.
28 U.S.C. § 144. In determining whether recusal is
appropriate, therefore, the Court must first determine
whether the following three elements have been met: (1)
whether a party has made and timely filed an affidavit; (2)
whether the affidavit is accompanied by a good faith
certificate of counsel; and (3) whether the affidavit is
legally sufficient. Id. Although the Plaintiffs
filed an affidavit in support of their recusal motion, there
is little doubt that it fails to comply with the