Munt v. Larson et al
ORDER denying 175 Motion to Disqualify Magistrate Judge. (Written Opinion) Signed by Judge Susan Richard Nelson on 01/12/2017. (SMD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Joel Marvin Munt
Case No. 15-cv-582 (SRN/SER)
Nanette Larson, Director Health Services;
Kathryn Reid, Health Services Administrator;
Shelly Monio, Office and Administrative
Specialist, Senior; Kim Ebeling, Office and
Administrative Specialist, Senior; and Jane and
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States District Judge
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Joel Marvin Munt’s (“Munt”) Motion to
Recuse/Disqualify Judge (“Motion to Recuse”) [Doc. No. 175]. Munt brings his motion pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 144, 455. (Mot. to Recuse at 1). In support of his Motion, Munt alleges that his
disparate treatment clearly demonstrates prejudice on the part of the Honorable Steven E. Rau,
thus necessitating his recusal. See (id. at 8–9). In particular, Munt asserts that Judge Rau’s failure
to address his motions for extensions while granting a similar request from the Defendants
“create[s] an appearance of partiality.” See (id.). Munt also asserts that Judge Rau’s actions have
harmed his ability to protect his interests. See (id.). As a result, Munt states that this disparate
treatment gives rise to disqualification under 28 U.S.C. § 455. See (id.).
The Court appreciates Munt’s frustrations vis-à-vis his motions, but nothing that Munt
alleges can reasonably be interpreted to invoke a reason for recusal under any aspect of 28
U.S.C. § 455. Munt’s argument—in essence—is a challenge to the manner in which judge Rau
has managed this case. In other words, Munt argues that because he does not agree with the
manner in which Judge Rau has decided aspects of this case, Judge Rau must be disqualified.
This argument is unpersuasive. “It is critical to a trial court's power of control over its own
docket and its ability to effectively serve all litigants seeking its service that it maintain control
over the progress of cases before it, including control over any extensions of time that may be
granted.” Biby v. Kansas City Life Ins. Co., 629 F.2d 1289 (8th Cir. 1980).
Here Judge Rau is merely exercising his sound discretion to efficiently bring this case to
a final disposition, as is his charge under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 1. Furthermore, Munt’s allegations that the manner in which Judge Rau has managed this case
has prejudiced him in some way are equally insufficient to support recusal. Cf. Dossett v. First
State Bank, 399 F.3d 940 (8th Cir. 2005) (stating that “[a]dverse judicial rulings, however,
‘almost never’ constitute a valid basis for recusal; the proper recourse for a dissatisfied litigant is
appeal”). Consequently, Munt has failed to allege any factual basis by which the Court can
entertain his Motion.
Based upon all the files, records and proceedings, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Plaintiff Joel Marvin Munt’s Motion to Recuse/Disqualify Judge [Doc. No. 175] is DENIED.
Dated: January 12, 2017
s/Susan Richard Nelson
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON
United States District Court Judge
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