Freeman v. Rochester Psychiatric Center et al
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)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DECISION AND ORDER
ROCHESTER PSYCHIATRIC CENTER,
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.
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.
United States District Court
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