Corrado v. New York State Unified Court System
ORDER denying 73 Motion for Recusal. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go on 3/17/2014. (Proujansky, Josh)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
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- against -
CV 12-1748 (DLI)(MDG)
NEW YORK STATE UNIFIED COURT SYSTEM,
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By letter filed on March 14, 2013 (ct. doc. 73), Ambrose
Wotorson, counsel for plaintiff, seeks my recusal from pretrial
supervision of this action.
Plaintiff claims that recusal is
warranted for my failure to disclose that I served as a member of
the Governor's Task Force on Minority Representation on the Bench
(the "Task Force") from 1991-1992.
For the reasons set forth
below, plaintiff's application is denied.
A judge is required to recuse himself "in any proceeding in
which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."
U.S.C. § 455(a) (1988).
The standard to be applied to a motion
to recuse is an objective one:
whether a reasonable person,
knowing all the facts, would conclude that the trial court's
impartiality could reasonably be questioned.
See Apple v. Jewish
Hosp. Med. Ctr., 829 F.2d 326, 333 (2d Cir. 1987).
A judge has
an affirmative duty not to disqualify himself unnecessarily.
LoCascio v. United States, 473 F.3d 493, 498 (2d Cir. 2007);
National Auto Brokers Corp. v. General Motors Corp., 572 F.2d
953, 958 (2d Cir. 1978).
Plaintiff contends that this Court's failure to disclose
participation on the Task Force is a basis for recusal and "[t]o
plaintiff, [t]his issue potentially establishes a conflict or, at
the very least, raises the appearance of one."
Ct. doc. 73 at 2.
In particular, plaintiff is concerned with "this Court's
connection or affiliation to either of the two Cuomo
administrations . . ."
First, plaintiff is wrong that the Court has not disclosed
its participation in the Governor's Task Force.
posted on this Court's website includes my membership on the Task
Force, and to the best of my knowledge, has been unchanged since
before commencement of this action.
Importantly, no reasonable person would conclude that this
Court's impartiality could reasonably be questioned because of my
membership on the Task Force.
The Task Force was charged with
the duty to prepare a report to the Governor which would, inter
alia, "identify the causes of under-representation of minorities
on the New York State bench, ... [and to d]etermine which
changes, if any, to the judicial selection process would likely
increase minority representation on the bench. . ."
Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 4.149 (1991).
I served in my capacity
as a member of the private bar and, like other members on the
Task Force, received no compensation.
My participation on
the Task Force could hardly be viewed as a "connection or
affiliation" to the current or past Cuomo administrations, or
even qualify as government service meriting recusal.
v. Bd. of Educ. of City Sch. Dist. of N.Y., 631 F.3d 57 (2d Cir.
2011) ("A judge's prior governmental service, even with the same
entity appearing before the judge as a party, does not
automatically require recusal"); see Longi v. New York, 363 Fed.
App'x 57 (2d Cir. 2010) (affirming denial of recusal motion where
district judge and magistrate judge were previously employed by
The facts alleged by plaintiff and the parties to
this case have nothing whatsoever to do with the work of the Task
Moreover, the familial relationship between then Governor
Mario Cuomo, who appointed me to the Task Force, and the current
Governor Andrew Cuomo, has no bearing on this case.
plaintiff has sued the Unified Court System, a separate branch of
the New York state government.
See generally In re N.Y. State
Inspection, Sec. and Law Enforcement Employees, District Council
82, AFCME, 64 N.Y.2d 233, 239 (1984) (discussing separation of
powers of government of State of New York).
is based on such an attenuated connection as to be patently
See Ransmeier v. Mariani, 718 F.3d 64, 70 (2d Cir.
There being no appropriate basis for recusal, plaintiff's
application is denied.
Brooklyn, New York
March 17, 2014
MARILYN DOLAN GO
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Although counsel carefully couches his argument as his
client's view, he is responsible for the arguments that appear in
his motion papers. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b), (c)(1).
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