Williams v. Nexstar Media Group et al

Filing 10

ORDER denying 8 Motion for Recusal of Magistrate Judge, as set out. Copy to Plaintiff. Signed by Magistrate Judge Sonja F. Bivins on 3/28/2024. (meh)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA SOUTHERN DIVISION WENDY M. WILLIAMS, * * * * * CIVIL ACTION NO. 23-00456-KD-B * * * * Plaintiff, vs. NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP, et al., Defendants. ORDER This action is before the Court Williams’ Request for Recusal (Doc. 8). on Plaintiff Wendy M. Upon consideration, the motion is DENIED. Plaintiff Williams, who is proceeding pro se, asserts that the undersigned should recuse from this case “due to bias” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455. (Id.). According to Williams: Mrs. Wendy Williams has dealt with this judge before and has never won her case against several individuals who ha[ve] violated her, and this judge and others know this and ha[ve] done nothing to stop these individuals from harming, Ms. Wendy M. Williams. (Id. at 3-4). 28 U.S.C. § 455 requires a judge to remove herself in “in any proceeding questioned” in or which if h[er] “[s]he impartiality has a might personal bias reasonably or be prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding[.]” 28 U.S.C. §§ 455(a) & (b)(1). The applicable legal standard is whether “an objective, fully informed lay observer would entertain significant doubt about the judge’s impartiality.” Christo v. Padgett, 223 F.3d 1324, 1333 (llth Cir. 2000) (citation omitted). “A party introducing a motion to recuse [under 28 U.S.C. § 455] carries a heavy burden of proof; a judge is presumed disqualification otherwise.” to bears be the impartial and substantial the burden party of seeking proving Pope v. Fed. Express Corp., 974 F.2d 982, 985 (8th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted); see In re Clark, 289 B.R. 193, 196 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2002). The undersigned has fully reviewed and considered Williams’ motion and finds that there is no legitimate reason for recusal. The mere fact that Williams is not pleased with the undersigned’s rulings provides no basis for recusal. See Stringer v. Doe, 503 F. App’x 888, 890 (llth Cir. 2013) (“Judicial rulings standing alone rarely constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion.”). Moreover, “a judge, having been assigned to a case, should not recuse [her]self on unsupported, irrational, or highly tenuous speculation.” United States v. Greenough, 782 F.2d 1556, 1558 (llth Cir. 1986) (per curiam); see also Lawal v. Winners Int’l Rests. Co. Operations, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63695, at *4, 2006 WL 898180, at *4 (N.D. Ga. Apr. 6, 2006) (“A trial judge has as much obligation not to recuse [her]self when there is no reason to do so as [s]he does to recuse [her]self when the converse is true.”); United States v. Malmsberry, 222 F. Supp. 2d 1345, 1349 2 (M.D. Fla. 2002) (“[A] judge has as strong a duty to sit when there is no legitimate reason to recuse as [s]he does to recuse when the law and facts require.”). Not only has Williams failed to provide a reasonable basis for recusal, but the record evidence clearly shows, as set forth in the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 7), that Williams has repeatedly failed to comply with orders of this Court.1 For the reasons set forth above, Williams’ request for recusal is DENIED. DONE this 28th day of March 2024. /s/ SONJA F. BIVINS_______ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 1 While Williams belatedly filed an amended complaint (Doc. 9) after the deadline set by the undersigned, she has made no effort to file a new motion to proceed without prepayment of fees or in lieu thereof, pay the $405 statutory filing fee as directed by the Court. (Doc. 6). 3

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