Hoskins v. Rueter et al
ORDER denying 89 Motion A Substitute Magistrate Judge Showing Good Cause. Signed by Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison on 2/17/2021. (klh)
Case 3:20-cv-00549-GCS Document 90 Filed 02/17/21 Page 1 of 3 Page ID #572
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
J. RUETER, et al.,
Case No. 3:20-cv-00549-GCS
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
SISON, Magistrate Judge:
Now before the Court is Hoskins’s motion to substitute magistrate judge showing
good cause, which the undersigned construes as a motion for recusal. (Doc. 89).
Specifically, Hoskins contends that the undersigned will not consider relevant evidence
demonstrating that the grievance process was unavailable to him regarding the
exhaustion issue in this case, and he believes he will not be able to succeed on the merits
of this case because of the undersigned’s previous rulings in this case and in other cases.
Based on the following, the Court DENIES the motion.
A federal judge must recuse himself in two situations. Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), a
judge must disqualify himself “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might
reasonably be questioned.” 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). “The standard in any case for a § 455(a)
recusal is whether the judge’s impartiality could be questioned by a reasonable, wellinformed observer.” In re Hatcher, 150 F.3d 631, 637 (7th Cir. 1998). In Hook v. McDade, 89
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F.3d 350, 354 (7th Cir. 1996), the court stated that § 455(a) “asks whether a reasonable
person perceives a significant risk that the judge will resolve the case on a basis other
than the merits. This is an objective inquiry.” It is well established that, “unless there are
exceptional circumstances, judicial rulings are grounds for appeal, not disqualification.”
Id. at 355.
Under § 455(b)(1), a judge must recuse himself if “he has a personal bias or
prejudice concerning a party.” To disqualify a judge under this provision, the party must
prove bias “by compelling evidence” and “[t]he bias or prejudice must be grounded in
some personal animus or malice that the judge harbors . . . of a kind that a fair-minded
person could not entirely set aside when judging certain persons or causes.” Grove Fresh
Distribs., Inc. v. John Labatt, Ltd., 299 F.3d 635, 640 (7th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks
Hoskins’s motion satisfies neither of these requirements. As to potential
disqualification under § 455(a), the only ground offered by Hoskins appears to be his
disappointment with recent rulings of the Court. As stated above, however, that is
insufficient. Regarding disqualification under § 455(b)(1), Hoskins has not alleged an
appearance of bias. Nor has he alleged actual bias, such as personal animus or malice on
the part of the judge, which is typically required to establish personal bias or prejudice.
See, e.g., 28 U.S.C. § 144 (establishing procedure to recuse judge based on personal bias or
prejudice through the filing of an affidavit stating “the facts and reasons for the belief
that bias or prejudice exists[.]” See also United States v. Balistreri, 779 F.2d 1191, 1201 (7th
Cir. 1985)(noting that phrase “personal bias or prejudice” in Section 144 has the same
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meaning as that found in Section 455(b)(1)), overruled on other grounds by, Fowler v.
Butts, 829 F.3d 788, 793 (7th Cir. 2016)(holding that a district court’s decision regarding
recusal under Section 455(a) can be vindicated on appeal like a recusal decision under
Section 455(b)). The Court’s previous rulings do not constitute bias. Further, the
undersigned has no bias or prejudice concerning Hoskins.
As such, the Court DENIES Hoskins’s motion to substitute magistrate judge
showing good cause. (Doc. 89). The Court notes that it does not view this as a motion to
withdraw consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction. To the extent that is what Hoskins
intends, Hoskins should file a motion so stating and the motion will be decided by a
by Judge Sison 2
GILBERT C. SISON
United States Magistrate Judge
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: February 17, 2021.
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