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Fields v. Hubbard

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


January 7, 2010

KEVIN E. FIELDS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUE HUBBARD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence J. O'Neill United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISQUALIFY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE DENNIS BECK

(Doc. 7)

Plaintiff Kevin E. Fields is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action had been dismissed on October 5, 2009 for failure to obey a court order. On October 19, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion for the Court to vacate its order. On December 3, 2009, the Court granted Plaintiff's request, reopening the action.

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion, filed August 21, 2009, requesting that the United States Magistrate Judge assigned to this case be disqualified pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(1). Plaintiff contends that he intends to call Magistrate Judge Dennis Beck as a witness regarding Fields v. Ruiz, et al., (E.D. Cal.), case No. 1:03-cv-6364-LJO-DLB PC. Plaintiff contends that Magistrate Judge Beck's impartiality would be questioned and that he would have personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts because Magistrate Judge Beck presided over a telephonic hearing in Fields v. Ruiz on April 18, 2008. Plaintiff attaches a transcript of that hearing.

The action Fields v. Ruiz, et al., proceed to jury trial, and on May 29, 2008, the jury returned a verdict for the defendants, and judgment was entered in favor of the defendants. Plaintiff appealed. On December 30, 2009, the Ninth Circuit issued a memorandum affirming the judgment.

Plaintiff fails to demonstrate how Magistrate Judge Beck's impartiality is reasonably in question. Plaintiff appears to suggest that because Magistrate Judge Beck presided over a telephonic hearing in a completely different action, he has personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts in this action. Plaintiff however points to nothing to support this. The Court finds Plaintiff's motion to be without merit.

Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to disqualify United States Magistrate Judge Dennis Beck is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100107

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