Hall et al v. Chambers Smith et al
ORDER denying 33 Motion for a New Report and Recommendation; denying 34 Motion to Disqualify Counsel. Signed by Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley on 9/19/2022. (cw)(This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
Case: 2:21-cv-01135-ALM-CHG Doc #: 44 Filed: 09/19/22 Page: 1 of 4 PAGEID #: 287
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
: Case No. 2:21-cv-1135
: CHIEF JUDGE ALGENON L. MARBLEY
: Magistrate Judge Sharon L. Ovington
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff David Hall’s Motion for A New Report and
Recommendation (ECF No. 33) and Motion to Remove Counsel (ECF No. 34). For the reasons
stated more fully below, this Court DENIES both of Plaintiff’s Motions (ECF Nos. 33, 34).
Plaintiff proceeding pro se, is a prisoner incarcerated at North Central Correctional
Complex (“NCCC”). Plaintiff filed his Complaint on March 15, 2021 (ECF No. 1). Defendants
filed their Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 10), and Magistrate Judge Jolson issued a Report and
Recommendation, granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No.
26). Plaintiff objected to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 28), and
the Court overruled Plaintiff’s Objections (ECF No. 37).
Before this Court ruled on Plaintiff’s Objections, Plaintiff filed two motions. (ECF Nos.
33, 34). First, Plaintiff appears to be requesting a new Report and Recommendation. (ECF No.
33). Next, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remove Counsel (ECF No. 34). Though not clearly, Plaintiff
argued three bases as grounds for removing counsel for Defendants: (1) Defendants used false and
misleading information; (2) Defendants mischaracterized the facts of the case; and (3) Defendants
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improperly increased Plaintiff’s sentence post-conviction. (Id. at 1–2). Defendants timely filed a
Response in Opposition. (ECF No. 35). This matter is now ripe for review.
A district court does not possess unfettered discretion to disqualify counsel. Kitchen v.
Aristech Chemical, 769 F. Supp 254, 255 (S. D. Ohio 1991). Generally, Courts can only disqualify
counsel on the basis of conflict of interest. Wellman v. Supreme Ct. of Ohio, No. 2:17-CV-291,
2018 WL 1315016, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 14, 2018). When confronted with a motion to disqualify,
“courts must be sensitive to the competing public policy interests of preserving client confidences
and of permitting a party to retain counsel of its choice.” Manning v. Waring, Cox, James, Sklar
& Allen, 849 F.2d 222, 224 (6th Cir. 1988). Resolving these competing interests requires the court
to balance the interest of the public in the proper safeguarding of the judicial process together with
the interests of each party to the litigation. General Mill Supply Co. v. SCA Servs., Inc., 697 F.2d
704, 715 (6th Cir. 1982).
While the pleadings of pro se litigants are held to less stringent standards than pleadings
drafted by lawyers, Ruhl v. Brown, No. 2:13-CV-00716, 2015 WL 5117951, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Sept.
1, 2015) (Marbley, J.), a plaintiff’s status as a pro se litigant, however, “does not discharge him
from adhering to the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure nor the Local Rules for
this District.” Despot v. Am. Income Life Ins. Co., No. 1:10-CV-932, 2012 WL 787387, at *1 (S.D.
Ohio Mar. 9, 2012); Gallant v. Holdren, No. 1:15-CV-00383, 2018 WL 919875, at *2 (S.D. Ohio
Feb. 15, 2018), report and recommendation adopted, No. 1:16-CV-383, 2018 WL 1535912 (S.D.
Ohio Mar. 29, 2018).
Plaintiff moves the Court for a new Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 33 at 1).
Notably, Plaintiff seeks this request absent argument or authority. (Id.). Plaintiff also moves the
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Court to Remove Defendants’ counsel. (ECF No. 34 at 1). The Court will address these Motions
First, Plaintiff’s Motion for a New Report and Recommendation is presented without
argument and authority. Though it is unclear, this Court construes this Motion as a successive
objection to the Report and Recommendation.1 Plaintiff’s objections have been considered and
rejected in this Court’s previous Order. (See ECF No. 37, Opinion and Order). Accordingly, this
Motion (ECF No. 33) is DENIED.
Similarly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remove Counsel (ECF No. 34) lacks merit. “When
adjudicating a Motion to Disqualify the Office of the Attorney General, “[a]bsent an independent
basis upon which to disqualify the Attorney General applicable to all attorneys, such as a conflict
of interest, [a] Court has no power to prevent the Attorney General from representing defendants
and plaintiffs have no standing to challenge that representation.” Rouse v. Caruso, No. 06-CV10961-DT, 2007 WL 209919, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 24, 2007), aff'd, No. CIV 06-10961, 2007
WL 909578 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 23, 2007) (citing O'Connor v. Jones, 946 F.2d 1395, 1399-1400
(8th Cir. 1991)); Manchester v. Rzewinicki, 777 F.Supp. 319, 325, 328 (D. Del. 1991), aff'd, 958
F.2d 364 (3d Cir. 1992); 7 Am. Jur. 2d Attorney General § 24 (1997) (“It is generally
acknowledged that the attorney general is the proper party to determine the necessity and
advisability ... of defending actions against the state or its officials [.]”).
Here, Plaintiff identifies no valid reason to remove the Attorney General as counsel for
Defendants. Mr. Hall “marshals neither law nor fact that would lead this Court to conclude that
there is a reasonable possibility that some specifically identifiable impropriety accompanied the
Though it is possible that Plaintiff was intending to file a Motion for Reconsideration directed to the Magistrate
Judge, this Motion became Moot once this Court ruled on the underlying Report and Recommendation. If that is what
he intended that Motion is DENIED AS MOOT.
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Ohio Attorney General’s representation of the State Defendants.” Wellman, 2018 WL 1315016, at
*2. Though he alleges that Defendants made false and misleading representations in its briefing,
he has offered no support for these assertions. To the extent he intends to accuse the Attorney
General of conspiring with Defendants to unlawfully extend his sentence, this too is lodged without
support. As this Court has concluded, “under such circumstances, ‘the Court will not disqualify a
party’s chosen counsel.’” Id. (citing Crosky v. Ohio Dep't of Rehab. & Corr., No. 2:09-CV-00400,
2010 WL 1610818, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 20, 2010)). Indeed, if it were otherwise, “it would be
all too easy for opposing parties to harass each other.” Id. (citing Crosky, 2010 WL 1610818, at
*2 and Kitchen v. Aristech Chem., 769 F. Supp. 254, 257 (S.D. Ohio 1991)). Because Plaintiff has
not satisfied the standard required for the Court to disqualify the Attorney General’s Office, his
Motion (ECF No. 34) is DENIED.
For the reasons articulated above, this Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Request for a New Report
and Recommendation (ECF No. 33); and DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion to Disqualify the Attorney
General’s Office (ECF. 34).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
ALGENON L. MARBLEY
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
DATED: September 19, 2022
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