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Jones v. Hill

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

March 21, 2014

JUANITA L. JONES, a/k/a JUANITA L. OWENS, Plaintiff,
v.
J. CALVIN HILL, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

MARTIN REIDINGER, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's "Notice of Motion and Motion by Plaintiff for Summary Judgment" [Doc. 48] and Plaintiff's "Motion to vacate March 17 orders denying motions numbered 18, 22, 27, 47, 32, and to disqualify or rescue [sic] Dennis Howell" [Doc. 70].

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff initiated this action on December 18, 2013, against various state and municipal officials, alleging violations of her civil rights in the course of certain state judicial proceedings. [Doc. 1]. In the three months that this matter has been pending, the Plaintiff has filed over twenty notices, motions, and other pleadings, many of which lacked any legal or factual basis and at the minimum failed to comply with the Court's Local Rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Honorable Dennis L. Howell, the United States Magistrate Judge assigned to this action in a referral capacity, has entered a series of orders addressing many of the Plaintiff's filings and denying her various requests for relief. [See Doc. 16 (denying motion to enforce subpoenas); Doc. 59 (denying motion to transfer state court action); Doc. 60 (denying motion for obstruction of justice); Doc. 68 (denying motion for recusal); Doc. 69 (denying motion for default judgment).

Most of the named Defendants have now appeared in this action and have filed motions to dismiss the Plaintiffs' action in its entirety. [See Docs. 34, 41, 52, 53, 66]. The Plaintiff has filed responses in opposition to all of these motions but one, for which the time for responding has not yet expired. [See Docs. 50, 49, 63, 64]. Although the motions to dismiss are still pending, the Plaintiff has filed a motion seeking summary judgment on all of her claims. [Doc. 48].

On March 18, 2014, the Plaintiff filed a motion seeking to vacate all of Judge Howell's prior Orders and requesting his recusal from this action based upon the allegation that he is biased or prejudiced against the Plaintiff. [Doc. 70].

II. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

While the Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on all of her claims, there are multiple motions to dismiss pending which, if granted, will dispose of the Plaintiff's action in its entirety. Accordingly, the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is premature. The Court will deny this summary judgment motion without prejudice to renewal, if appropriate, upon resolution of the motions to dismiss.

II. MOTION FOR RECUSAL

With respect to the Plaintiff's motion to recuse, 28 U.S.C. ยง 455 governs disqualification of federal judges. In pertinent part, the statute provides:

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:
(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts ...

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