Freeman v. Rochester Psychiatric Center et al

Filing 234

DECISION AND ORDER: For the reasons stated, Plaintiff's 231 Motion to Reassign Case is DENIED. SO ORDERED. Signed by Hon. Frank P. Geraci, Jr. on 3/5/18. A copy of this NEF and Decision and Order have been mailed to the pro se Plaintiff. (JO)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK DWAYNE FREEMAN, Plaintiff, Case #12-CV-6045-MAT v. DECISION AND ORDER ROCHESTER PSYCHIATRIC CENTER, Defendant. INTRODUCTION On January 25, 2012, pro se Plaintiff Dwayne Freeman filed a civil rights action against his employer, Defendant Rochester Psychiatric Center, alleging discrimination and retaliation pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ECF No. 1. The case was assigned to United States District Judge Michael A. Telesca. See ECF No. 8. On September 20, 2017, Judge Telesca granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied Freeman’s cross-motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 223. Freeman then moved to vacate Judge Telesca’s order and the subsequent judgment. ECF No. 225. Then, on November 14, 2017, Freeman filed a motion to reassign the case from Judge Telesca, which is currently before the Court. ECF No. 231. DISCUSSION Under Second Circuit law, cases are reassigned only in “unusual circumstances.” Gonzalez v. Hasty, 802 F.3d 212, 225 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting United States v. Robin, 553 F.2d 8, 9-10 (2d Cir. 1977)). Indeed, reassignment is “an extreme remedy [that is] rarely imposed.” United States v. City of New York, 717 F.3d 72, 99 (2d Cir. 2013) (citing United States v. Jacobs, 955 F.2d 7, 10 (2d Cir. 1992)). When deciding whether to reassign a case, courts consider three factors: (1) whether the original judge would reasonably be expected upon remand to have substantial difficulty in putting out of his or her mind previously-expressed views or findings determined to be erroneous or based on evidence that must be rejected, (2) whether reassignment is advisable to preserve the appearance of justice, and (3) whether reassignment would entail waste and duplication out of proportion to any gain in preserving the appearance of fairness. Gonzalez, 802 F.3d at 225 (quoting Martens v. Thomann, 273 F.3d 159, 174 (2d Cir. 2001)). Here, the factors weigh against reassigning the case. There is nothing in Freeman’s motion or the record that shows Judge Telesca would have substantial difficulty rejecting his previous findings or that reassignment would preserve the appearance of justice. Freeman’s only allegations are that Judge Telesca took a statement in Plaintiff’s complaint out of context and intentionally mislabeled Freeman’s motion for summary judgment as ECF No. 219 instead of ECF No. 209. ECF No. 231 ¶¶ 4-13, 19-22. Finally, reassigning the case would result in waste and duplication far out of proportion to any gain in preserving the appearance of fairness. Judge Telesca has presided over this case for more than six years. The case-specific factual and legal knowledge he has is too valuable to discard, especially when the record presents no actual evidence of bias or prejudice. Accordingly, Freeman’s motion to reassign, ECF No. 231, is DENIED. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 5, 2018 Rochester, New York ______________________________________ HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge United States District Court -2-

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