United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Paradise Baxter District Judge
MEMORANDUM ORDER RE: ECF NO. 3
MAUREEN P. KELLY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Nur Qadr, also known as Jeffrey Pratt ("Plaintiff),
brings this civil rights action arising out of allegations
that Defendants deprived him of religious items while he was
incarcerated at State Correctional Institution at. Forest.
Presently before the Court is a Motion for Recusal of the
undersigned filed by Plaintiff. ECF No. 3. For the reasons
that follow, the Motion will be denied.
455(a) provides that "any justice, judge, or magistrate
of the United States shall disqualify [herself] in any
proceeding in which [her] impartiality might reasonably be
questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). "The inquiry
under section 455(a) is 'whether the record, viewed
objectively, reasonably supports the appearance of prejudice
or bias."' Pondexter v. Allegheny Cnty. Hous.
Auth., No. 11-857, 2012 WL 1621370, at *2 (W.D. Pa. May
9, 2012) (quoting U.S. v. Pungitore, No. Civ. A. No.
88-00003-09, 2003 WL 22657087, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 24,
2003)). "A party seeking recusal need not show actual
bias on the part of the court, only the possibility of
bias." In re Prudential Ins. Co. Am. Sales Practices
Litig, 148 F.3d 283, 343 (3d Cir. 1998). A judge,
however, is presumed to be impartial and thus the party
seeking disqualification has a substantial burden and must
assert "objective facts" that demonstrate "an
appearance of impropriety." Phillips v. James.
No. 13-1196, 2014 WL 1652914, at *4-5 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 23,
2014) (quoting U.S. v. Martorano, 866 F.2d 62, 68
(3d Cir. 1989)). The test is whether a reasonable person with
knowledge of all the facts would conclude that the
judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
In re Prudential Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 343; see
also Liteky v. United States. 510 U.S. 540, 548
however, "vital to the integrity of the system of
justice that a judge not recuse [herself] on unsupported,
irrational or highly tenuous speculation."
Pondexter, 2012 WL 1621370, at *2 (quoting
McCann v. Communications Design Corp.. 775 F.Supp.
1506, 1523 (D. Conn. 1991)). Thus, "the judge has an
'affirmative duty not to recuse [herself] if the movant
fails to establish a reasonable doubt concerning [her]
impartiality.'" Id. (quoting Grand
Entm't Grp. Ltd. v. Arazy, 676 F.Supp. 616, 619
(E.D. Pa. 1987)). Furthermore, "when proceedings are
brought under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), ajudge need not accept
as true the motion's factual allegations, but may
contradict them with facts drawn from [her] own personal
knowledge." Id. (quoting Mass. School of
Law at Andover. Inc. v. American Bar Ass'n 872
F.Supp. 1346, 1349 (E.D. Pa. 1994)).
Plaintiff seeks the undersigned's recusal because he
claims that this Court "set hurdles" with respect
to his prior case, which could only be overcome by a skilled
attorney "who knows how to apply the facts with the case
law," and argues that his Motion for Appointment of
Counsel was improperly denied. ECF No. 3 at 3. A party's
displeasure with the Court's previous rulings, however,
is not an adequate basis for recusal. Securacomm
Consulting, Inc. v. Securacom Inc., 224 F.3d 273, 278
(3d Cir. 2000); see also Jones v. Pittsburgh NatT
Corp.. 899 F.2d 1350, 1356 (3d Cir. 1990)
("[disagreement with a judge's determinations
certainly cannot be equated with the showing required to so
reflect on his impartiality as to dictate recusal").
extent Plaintiff further suggests that I "told
employee's to harass and obstruct and deny the Plaintiff
legal materials, use of law library, and legal assistance
because the Plaintiff was going forward with the case,"
ECF No. 3 at 3, this is a false accusation and is therefore
not a proper basis for recusal. See Pondexter, 2012
WL 1621370, at *2. Accordingly, Plaintiffs Motion does not
set forth a valid basis for recusal, and the Motion for
Recusal is denied.
NOW, this 10th day of December, 2019, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Recusal, ECF No. 3, is
accordance with the Magistrate Judges Act, 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), and Rule 72.C.2 of the Local Rules of Court, the
parties are allowed fourteen (14) days from the date of this
Order to file an appeal to the District Judge which includes
the basis for objection to this Order. Any appeal is to be
submitted to the Clerk of Court, United States District
Court, 700 Grant Street, Room 3110, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
Failure to file a timely appeal will constitute a waiver of
any appellate rights.
 In his Motion for Recusal, Plaintiff
also requests that the Court grant him an extension of time
to amend his Complaint. The Court notes that Plaintiffs case
is currently closed due to Plaintiffs failure to cure
deficiencies in his Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis, and this request is therefore denied without
prejudice at this time. See ECF No. 2. If Plaintiff
cures the deficiencies and ...