COULTER v. TATANANNI et al
ORDER denying 9 Motion for Recusal; denying 9 Motion to Stay. Signed by Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell on 6/30/2017. (spc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
BLAZE TATANANNI, et al.,
Civil Action No. 17-629
On June 28, 2017, Plaintiff, Jean Coulter, filed a a document entitled “Motion for Recusal
and Motion for Stay Pending Assignment of a Jurist Who Has Not Previously Violated
Numerous Federal Criminal Statutes for the Purpose of Victimizing Plaintiff” (ECF No. 9). She
argues that the undersigned should recuse from this case for having “made a pattern and practice
of violation of Coulter’s Rights to Privacy as well as Coulter’s Right to Due Process and has thus
violated Federal Criminal Statute related to Color of Law Violation of Rights.” (Id. at 1.)
She contends that, in previous cases filed in this Court, the undersigned referred to
records that were sealed by Pennsylvania statute. She alleges that, in Case No. 11-1201, the
undersigned “claimed to have searched the ‘public record’ and discovered Sealed Adoption
records,” which the Clerk’s Office had sealed. However, as the docket entry shows, what
occurred was that the defendant had submitted a motion and brief and exhibits all in one
document, so the Clerk’s Office separated them and redocketed them as appropriate. (Civ. A.
No. 11-1201, ECF No. 16 docket entry dated Jan. 6, 2012). They were never sealed by the
Clerk’s Office. Moreover, what the defendant submitted in that case were not records from an
adoption, but the Memorandum Opinion of Judge Doerr of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler
County, Pennsylvania dated January 11, 2011 in which the petition filed by the Butler County
Children and Youth Services Agency for the involuntary termination of Plaintiff’s parental rights
was granted, and the November 21, 2011 opinion of the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirming
this judgment (ECF No. 17 Exs. A, B).
The United States Code provides that:
Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify
himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be
28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The Supreme Court has held that “judicial rulings alone almost never
constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion.” Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540,
555 (1994). “When a party does not cite to extrajudicial sources, the Judge’s opinions and
remarks must reveal a ‘deep-seated’ or ‘high degree’ of ‘favoritism or antagonism that would
make fair judgment impossible.’” United States v. Wecht, 484 F.3d 194, 213 (3d Cir. 2007)
(quoting Liteky, 519 U.S. at 555-56). See Knoll v. City of Allentown, 707 F.3d 406, 411 (3d Cir.
2013) (district judge who called Knoll’s case “silly” and characterized her motion for a new trial
as “patently frivolous” was not required to recuse himself).
Plaintiff does not cite to extrajudicial sources, nor does she point to instances of opinions
revealing a deep-seated or high-degree of favoritism or antagonism. Plaintiff’s motion is based
solely on the fact that the undersigned has recommended that the many cases she has filed in this
Court should be dismissed. See Civ. A. Nos. 11-1201, 12-60, 12-338, 12-641, 12-978, 12-1050,
12-1241, 12-1461. All of the recommendations were reviewed de novo and adopted by a district
judge and were ultimately affirmed on appeal by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Indeed, in Civ. A. Nos. 12-1050 and 12-1241, Judge Bissoon declared Plaintiff a vexatious
litigant and prohibited her from filing any additional civil actions related to or arising from the
state court proceedings involving her criminal conviction for assaulting her minor child, and/or
the subsequent termination of her parental rights. This case does not fall within the scope of
Judge Bissoon’s order, but it fails to support its allegations for subject matter jurisdiction.
The Court of Appeals has held that “adverse rulings—even if they are erroneous—are not
in themselves proof of prejudice or bias.” Arrowpoint Capital Corp. v. Arrowpoint Asset Mgmt.,
LLC, 793 F.3d 313, 330 (3d Cir. 2015). Therefore, her motion for recusal will be denied.
Plaintiff also contends that “Stay is required as Magistrate Judge has demanded that
Coulter defend her Complaint, in a manner which is clearly intended to assist Defendants in the
presentation of their case.” (ECF No. 9 at 8.) However, Plaintiff is not being required to defend
her Complaint, but rather to explain the basis for subject matter jurisdiction, without which this
Court cannot proceed further. As her submission demonstrates, she has not supported her
assertions that subject matter jurisdiction can be based on either a federal question (because no
state actors are involved) or on diversity of citizenship (when all the evidence indicates that she
and five of the Defendants are citizens of Pennsylvania). Therefore, there is no basis for staying
this matter. By separate Report and Recommendation, it will be recommended that this case be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
AND NOW, this 30th day of June, 2017,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s “Motion for Recusal and Motion for Stay Pending
Assignment of a Jurist Who Has Not Previously Violated Numerous Federal Criminal Statutes
for the Purpose of Victimizing Plaintiff” (ECF No. 9) is denied.
s/Robert C. Mitchell
ROBERT C. MITCHELL
United States Magistrate Judge
P.O. Box 8094
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8094
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