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Stuart J. Sandrock v. I. Choo

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


December 30, 2011

STUART J. SANDROCK,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
I. CHOO, M.D., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marilyn L. Huff, District Judge United States District Court

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REASSIGN THE CASE

On June 23, 2011, Plaintiff Stuart Sandrock, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 1.) On November 8, 2011, Chief Judge Irma E. Gonzalez transferred this case to this Court pursuant to the low number rule, Local Civil Rule 40.1. (See Doc. No. 27.) On November 29, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion to reassign this case to a different judge. (Doc. No. 33.) On December 9, 2011, Defendants filed a response in opposition to Plaintiff's motion. (Doc. No. 41.)

In his motion for reassignment, Plaintiff requests that the case be reassigned to a new judge because this Court accepted the defendants' view of the facts in the prior litigation.*fn1 (Doc. No. 33 at 1.) "The standard for recusal under 28 U.S.C. §§ 144, 455 is whether a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would conclude the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Taylor v. Regents of Univ. of California, 993 F.2d 710, 712 (9th Cir. 1993) (quoting United States v. Studley, 783 F.2d 934, 939 (9th Cir. 1986)). "[A] judge's prior adverse ruling is not sufficient cause for recusal." Studley, 783 F.2d at 939. To warrant recusal, judicial bias must stem from an extra-judicial source. Pau v. Yosemite Park and Curry Co., 928 F.2d 880, 885 (9th Cir.1991); Studley, 783 F.2d at 939.

Here, Plaintiff's request stems from the adverse ruling the Court issued in the previous case brought by Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 33 at 1.) However, a judicial ruling alone will rarely give rise to a valid claim for recusal. Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994). Plaintiff does not allege any extra-judicial source of bias to warrant reassignment of the case. See Pau, 928 F.2d at 885; Studley, 783 F.2d at 939. Additionally, because Plaintiff's prior and present case involve substantially similar facts and legal issues, as well as the same defendants, reassigning the case would be a waste of judicial resources. Accordingly, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion to reassign the case.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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