Hornbeck Offshore Services, L.L.C. v. Salazar et al

Filing 113

MOTION to Disqualify Judge by Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Florida Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club. Motion Hearing set for 7/28/2010 10:00 AM before Judge Martin L.C. Feldman. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Exhibit B, # 4 Exhibit C, # 5 Exhibit D, # 6 Exhibit E, # 7 Exhibit F, # 8 Exhibit G, # 9 Exhibit H, # 10 Exhibit I, # 11 Notice of Hearing, # 12 Proposed Order)(Wannamaker, Catherine)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA HORNBECK OFFSHORE SERVICES, LLC, et al., Plaintiffs, v. KENNETH LEE "KEN" SALAZAR, et al., Defendants, DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE, et al., Defendant-Intervenors. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CIVIL ACTION NO. 10-1663(F)(2) SECTION F JUDGE FELDMAN MAGISTRATE WILKINSON DEFENDANT-INTERVENORS' MOTION FOR DISQUALIFICATION Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 455, Defendant-Intervenors Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Florida Wildlife Federation, Center for Biological Diversity, and Natural Resources Defense Council (collectively "Defenders") respectfully move this Court to disqualify itself from proceedings in this case. As detailed more fully in Defenders' memorandum in support of this motion, the Court must recuse itself for two distinct and independent reasons. First, the Court's financial holdings in various companies involved in oil and gas drilling raise in an objective mind a reasonable 1 question concerning the Court's impartiality in these proceedings, triggering the obligation under 28 U.S.C. 455(a) for the court to disqualify itself. This obligation is not mitigated by the Court's sale of some of this stock prior to the issuance of the preliminary injunction on June 22, 2010 since, prior to that time the Court must have formed substantive opinions about the case from both the briefs filed by the parties and the hearing on June 21. The Court owns and/or recently has owned an interest in several companies that comprise part of the network that supports the Gulf's oil and gas industry. To rule that the moratorium would injure irreparably a network in which the Court was financially invested creates an impermissible appearance of partiality in the mind of a reasonable observer, which is enough to trigger the duty to recuse under 455(a). Second, the Court has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy as well as interests that could be substantially affected by the outcome of this case, making recusal mandatory under 455(b)(4). The aforementioned stock and bond holdings in oil- and gasrelated companies would fall under both of those categories. Those entities' businesses in the Gulf are directly implicated by the scope of the moratorium, either via their ownership of a rig covered by the moratorium or via their servicing those rigs, in the same manner as Plaintiffs. Additionally, the legality of the moratorium could have a substantial impact on companies, like these, that do business in the Gulf. That impact could, in turn, reduce the value or security of the Court's investments. Furthermore, the Court's interests are not remote, contingent, or speculative; they are direct, explicit, and certain. Disqualification is required under 455(b)(4) if there is an financial interest in the subject matter of the controversy or if there could be a substantial effect on the interest. Both of those standards are met here. 2 WHEREFORE, Defenders respectfully request that the Court grant its Motion for Disqualification and recuse itself from proceedings in this matter. Respectfully submitted this 2nd day of July, 2010, /s Catherine M. Wannamaker John Suttles Louisiana Bar No. 19168 Counsel for Defendant-Intervenor Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER 200 West Franklin Street, Suite 330 Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516 Telephone: (919) 967-1450 Facsimile: (919) 929-9421 jsuttles@selcnc.org Catherine M. Wannamaker, admitted pro hac vice GA Bar No. 811077 Counsel for Defendant-Intervenors Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity SOUTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER 127 Peachtree Street, Suite 605 Atlanta, Georgia 30303 Telephone: (404) 521-9900 Fax: (404)521-9909 /s_Alisa A Coe____ Alisa A. Coe La. Bar No. 27999 David G. Guest Fla. Bar No. 0267228 Admitted pro hac vice Monica K. Reimer Fla. Bar No. 0090069 Admitted pro hac vice Earthjustice P.O. Box 1329 Tallahassee, FL 32302-1329 Phone: (850) 681-0031 Fax: (850) 681-00201 COUNSEL FOR SIERRA CLUB and FLORIDA WILDLIFE FEDERATION /s Mitchell Bernard Mitchell Bernard NY Bar No. 1684307 Admitted pro hac vice Natural Resources Defense Counsel 40 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011 Phone: (212)727-4469 Fax: (212)727-2700 /s Adam Babich Adam Babich Louisiana Bar No. 27177 Counsel for Sierra Club TULANE ENVT'L LAW CLINIC 6329 Freret Street New Orleans, LA 70118 Telephone: (504)865-5789 Facsimile: (504)862-8721 ababich@tulane.edu COUNSEL FOR NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, INC. 3 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that on July 2, 2010, I caused as copy of the foregoing to be served through the Court's CM/ECF system to all parties. /s Catherine Wannamaker Attorney 4