Hauck v. Walker et al

Filing 62

ORDER by Judge Benjamin H. Settle declining to recuse, forwarding to Chief Judge 59 MOTION for Recusal filed by Christine D. Hauck, and renoting 60 MOTION Defendants' Status Report and Renewal of Motion for Award of Deposition Costs and Attorney Fees and 51 MOTION to Compel Plaintiff's Deposition and Plaintiff's Responses to Defendants' Written Discovery Requests and Award Attorney Fees; Motion to Continue Expert Report Disclosure Deadlines: Noting Date 7/7/2017. (TG)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 6 7 8 CHRISTINE D. HAUCK, CASE NO. C13-5729 BHS Plaintiff, 9 10 v. PHILLIP D. WALKER, 11 Defendant. ORDER DECLINING TO RECUSE, FORWARDING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO CHIEF JUDGE, AND RENOTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS 12 13 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Christine Hauck’s (“Hauck”) 14 motion for recusal (Dkt. 59). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of 15 the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows: 16 17 I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY On August 23, 2013, Plaintiff Christine Hauck filed a motion to proceed in forma 18 pauperis. Dkt. 1. On August 26, 2013, the Court granted the motion and accepted her 19 civil rights complaint. Dkt. 3. Hauck asserts causes of action for violations of her Fourth 20 Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights and a violation of article 1, § 7 of the 21 Washington State Constitution. Id. 22 ORDER - 1 1 On February 25, 2014, Defendants Robert Anderson, Garry Lucas, and Phillip D. 2 Walker (“Defendants”) filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 18. On March 31, 3 2014, the Court granted the motion and dismissed all of Hauck’s claims. Dkt. 26. On 4 April 10, 2014, Hauck appealed. Dkt. 31. On June 2, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of 5 Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. Dkt. 6 36. In relevant part, the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment on Hauck’s wrongful 7 arrest claim, but reversed on Hauck’s excessive force claim. Id. The court concluded 8 that Hauck had submitted sufficient evidence to create a question of fact whether the 9 officers used excessive force when they arrested Hauck. Id. Accordingly, the matter was 10 11 remanded for further proceeding only on the excessive force claim. Id. On April 28, 2017, Defendants moved to compel Hauck’s deposition and 12 responses to discovery requests. Dkt. 51. On May 12, 2017, Hauck responded arguing in 13 part that Defendants’ discovery requests were overbroad. Dkt. 53. On June 1, 2017, the 14 Court held a telephone conference to resolve the discovery dispute. Dkt. 58. During the 15 conference, Hauck revealed that the alleged excessive force did not cause all of the 16 damages claimed in her complaint. Hauck is the master of her complaint, and only she 17 can inform the Court and Defendants what damages were caused by the alleged excessive 18 force, which is the only remaining claim in this case. In an effort to discover the relevant 19 damages, and thus narrow the issues for discovery as Hauck requested, the Court ordered 20 Hauck to appear for a deposition for the sole purpose of determining what damages 21 Hauck claims resulted from the use of excessive force. The parties agreed on a 22 deposition to occur around noon on June 8, 2017. ORDER - 2 1 On June 8, 2017, instead of appearing for the deposition, Hauck filed the instant 2 motion requesting that the Court recuse itself from the matter. Dkt. 59 1. On that same 3 day, Defendants filed a status report asserting that Hauck failed to appear for the 4 deposition and requested costs for the failure. Dkt. 60. 5 II. DISCUSSION 6 “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify 7 himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” 28 8 U.S.C. § 455(a). “Whenever a motion to recuse directed at a judge of this court is filed 9 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 144 or 28 U.S.C. § 455, the challenged judge will review the 10 motion papers and decide whether to recuse voluntarily.” Local Rules, W.D. Wash. LCR 11 3(e). “If the challenged judge decides not to voluntarily recuse, he or she will direct the 12 clerk to refer the motion to the chief judge . . . .” Id. 13 In this case, Hauck has failed to show that the undersigned’s impartiality may 14 reasonably be questioned. There is no authority for the proposition that a plaintiff may 15 refuse to produce any discovery or continually fail to appear for a deposition. The only 16 live claim in this matter is Hauck’s claim for excessive force. When Hauck first 17 informed the Court and Defendants that her damages for the excessive force claim were 18 not all of the damages alleged in the complaint, the Court fashioned a remedy to 19 determine the scope of Hauck’s damages. Allowing Defendants a limited deposition to 20 21 22 1 Although Hauck noted the motion for consideration on July 7, 2017, the motion is an ex parte motion that should have been noted for consideration the day it was filed. Local Rules, W.D. Wash. LCR 7(d)(1). Thus, the motion is ripe for consideration and Defendants need not respond. ORDER - 3 1 define the scope of damages is not an act of impartiality, but rather an effort to simplify 2 and facilitate the discovery obligations of Hauck, who is representing herself. Therefore, 3 the Court concludes that Hauck has failed to show bias or impartiality and declines to 4 recuse. 5 6 With regard to Defendants’ motions, the Court will renote them for consideration on the Court’s July 7, 2017 calendar. Hauck may respond accordingly. 7 8 9 III. ORDER Therefore, the undersigned refuses to recuse voluntarily, and the Clerk shall refer Hauck’s motion to the chief judge of the district and renote Defendants’ motions. 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 Dated this 12th day of June, 2017. A 12 13 BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 ORDER - 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?