Reddy v. Nuance Communications, Inc. et al

Filing 165

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR DISQUALIFICATION by Judge Paul S. Grewal denying 152 Motion to Disqualify Judge (psglc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/20/2012)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 SAN JOSE DIVISION United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 KRISHNA REDDY, ) ) Plaintiff, ) v. ) ) NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC.,, ) ) Defendants. ) ) ) Case No.: C 11-05632 PSG ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR DISQUALIFICATION (Re: Docket No. 152) 16 On December 4, 2012, Plaintiff Krishna Reddy (“Reddy”) filed a “Motion for 17 18 Disqualification of Judge Paul Singh Grewal” and requested prior rulings and orders in this case to 19 be vacated. As explained below, no circumstance requiring disqualification applies here; therefore, 20 Reddy’s motion is DENIED. 21 I. 22 LEGAL STANDARDS Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), a magistrate judge “shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in 23 24 25 which his impartiality might reasonably questioned.” The goal of Section 455 is “to avoid even the appearance of partiality.”1 Thus, disqualification or recusal, may be warranted even in cases where 26 27 1 28 Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 860 (1988) (internal quotations omitted). 1 Case No.: 11-05632 PSG ORDER 1 no actual partiality exists.2 A court considering a disqualification request under Section 455(a) 2 must ask “whether a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the 3 judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”3 The reasonable person is not 4 “‘hypersensitive or unduly suspicious,’ but rather is a ‘well-informed, thoughtful observer.’”4 If 5 the reasonable person would not find a basis for partiality, a judge has an obligation to participate 6 in the cases he is assigned.5 The standard for recusal must not be so broadly construed that recusal 7 becomes “mandated upon the merest unsubstantiated suggestion of personal bias or prejudice.”6 8 Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(1), a magistrate judge shall recuse himself “[w]here he has a 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts 11 concerning the proceeding.” 12 13 14 Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(5)(i), a magistrate judge must also recuse himself if “[h]e or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relations to either of them, or the spouse of such a person is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party.” 15 II. 16 DISCUSSION 17 As grounds for her request, Reddy claims that the undersigned’s impartiality might 18 reasonably be questioned in light of various rulings in this case and Reddy v. Medquist.7 Among 19 the rulings Reddy points to are the orders in this case granting Defendants’ partial motion to 20 dismiss and denying Reddy’s cross-motion, and an order in her case against MedQuist declaring 21 22 23 2 See id. 24 3 United States v. Holland, 519 F.3d 909, 913 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). 25 4 Id. (quoting In re Mason, 916 F.2d 384, 386 (7th Cir. 1990)). 26 5 See id. at 912. 27 6 Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). 28 7 Case No. 12-01324 PSG (N.D. Cal.). 2 Case No.: 11-05632 PSG ORDER 1 2 her a vexatious litigant. Because these rulings were based on facts introduced in the course of the respective proceedings, they do not offer grounds for recusal.8 Second, Reddy claims that the undersigned improperly incorporated the arguments of her 3 4 adversaries verbatim and did not consider the arguments she presented. This, says Reddy, reflects 5 personal bias or prejudice against her. Because Reddy’s assertions about what the undersigned did 6 and did not consider are not correct, this basis is insufficient to warrant recusal. 7 Finally, Reddy claims that the common religious beliefs of the undersigned and one of the 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 attorneys representing Defendants indicates an impermissible relation by blood. This is incorrect. The undersigned is not related to the opposing attorney in any way, by blood or otherwise. 11 III. 12 13 CONCLUSION Reddy’s motion to disqualify the undersigned and vacate prior rulings and orders in this case is DENIED. 14 15 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: December 20, 2012 18 _________________________________ PAUL S. GREWAL United States Magistrate Judge 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 8 See Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). See also United States v. Sibla, 624 F.2d 864, 868 (9th Cir. 1980) (holding affidavit seeking recusal not legally sufficient because it did not allege facts demonstrating bias or prejudice “stem[ming] from an extrajudicial source”). 3 Case No.: 11-05632 PSG ORDER

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?