United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
IN RE FAREED SEPEHRY-FARD, Debtor.
SELECT PORTFOLIO SERVICING INC., Defendant. FAREED SEPEHRY-FARD, Plaintiff,
ORDER DENYING “MOTION TO RECUSE;” DENYING
“ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO VACATE VOID ORDER;”
DENYING “REQUEST FOR MANDATORY JUDICIAL NOTICE”
RE: DKT. NOS. 3, 4, 5
J. DAVILA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
and Appellant Fareed Sepehry-Fard (“Debtor”)
sought to proceed in forma pauperis with respect to an appeal
from an order issued by the United States Bankruptcy Court.
Debtor filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) in the
United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth
Circuit, which transferred the motion to this court. The
matter was then referred to the undersigned for general duty
review, as was denied. Dkt. No. 2.
before the court are: (1) a document entitled
“Debtor’s Motion to Recuse - Bias or Prejudice,
” (2) another document entitled “Administrative
Motion to Vacate Void Order, ” and (3) a document
entitled “Plaintiff’s Request for Mandatory
Judicial Notice.” Dkt. Nos. 3, 4, 5. These matters are
nearly identical to documents that Debtor filed in another
and, like those, are suitable for decision without a hearing.
Having reviewed them, the court finds, concludes and orders
in the same manner it did previously:
“Motion to Recuse” appears to arise under 28
U.S.C. § 455. According to that statute, a district
judge has a duty to disqualify himself “in any
proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be
questioned” or where “he has a personal bias or
prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of
disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.”
28 U.S.C. § 455(a), (b)(1).
Notably, the standard employed to determine whether recusal
is appropriate under § 455 is an objective one.
Clemens v. United States Dist. Ct., 428 F.3d 1175,
1178 (9th Cir. 2005). It asks “‘whether a
reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would
conclude that the judge’s impartiality might reasonably
be questioned.’” Herrington v. Cnty. of
Sonoma, 834 F.2d 1488, 1502 (9th Cir. 1988) (quoting
United States v. Nelson, 718 F.2d 315, 321 (9th Cir.
1983)). “The ‘reasonable person’ in this
context means a ‘well-informed, thoughtful observer,
’ as opposed to a ‘hypersensitive or unduly
suspicious person.’” Clemens, 428 F.3d
at 1178 (citing In re Mason, 916 F.2d 384, 386 (7th
“Since a federal judge is presumed to be impartial, the
party seeking disqualification bears a substantial burden to
show that the judge is biased.” Torres v. Chrysler
Fin. Co., No. C 07-00915 JW, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
83154, at *4, 2007 WL 3165665 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 25, 2007)
(citing Reiffin v. Microsoft Corp., 158 F.Supp.2d
1016, 1021-22 (N.D. Cal. 2001)). Indeed, “[f]ederal
judges are obligated not to recuse themselves where there is
no reason to question their impartiality.” New York
City Housing Develop. Corp. v. Hart, 796 F.2d 976, 980
(7th Cir. 1986).
the court understands it, Debtor’s motion is based on
three primary allegations. First, he asserts the undersigned
was “bribed” and was disqualified from
determining whether his proposed action was barred by the
prefiling order because of some purported partnership or
conspiracy with Judge Lucy H. Koh “to aid and abet
Defendants/pretender lenders/alleged creditors to continue to
steal monies and properties from Debtor.” This
speculative allegation is not sufficient to justify recusal
under § 455. See Clemens, 428 F.3d at 1178-79
(holding that “[r]umor, speculation, beliefs,
conclusions, innuendo, suspicion, opinion, and similar
non-factual matters” are not ordinarily sufficient to
require a § 455 recusal). Nor is the fact that Debtor
attempted to sue another judge of this court. See
id. (holding that recusal is not required because of
“mere familiarity with the defendant(s)”).
Similarly, Debtor cannot seek the undersigned’s recusal
based on rulings made in prior actions involving Debtor. To
be sure, “[b]ias under 28 U.S.C. § 455 must derive
from extrajudicial sources.” Herrington, 834
F.2d at 1502; accord Liteky v. United States, 510
U.S. 540, 555 (1994) (holding that judicial rulings alone are
not a valid basis for a recusal motion as they do not
establish reliance on an extrajudicial source).
Furthermore, there is no legal basis for Debtor’s
theory that the undersigned “gave tacit
agreement” of a “lifetime bar” from
presiding over cases involving Debtor. Instead,
“[disqualification is case-specific; the statute does
not put a whole subject matter out of bounds to a judge with
no concrete investment in a particular dispute.”
Guardian Pipeline, L.L.C. v. 950.80 Acres of Land,
525 F.3d 554, 557 (7th Cir. 2008).
for the reasons explained, the “Motion to Recuse”
is DENIED. The “Administrative Motion to Vacate”
is also DENIED because it is based on the same
disqualification theory. The “Request for Mandatory
Judicial Notice” is DENIED because the documents
attached to that motion are not the proper subjects for such
 The other case is Sepehry-Fard v.
Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., Case No.