United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
Magistrate Judge, Dustin B. Pead
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER DENYING
WADDOUPS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Danesh Rahimi, who represents himself as a pro se
litigant, has filed a motion requesting this court recuse
itself from hearing this case. For the reasons set forth
below, the court holds that Dr. Rahimi has not established
any objective factual basis for recusal. Accordingly, the
court DENIES his motion for
disqualification, (Dkt. No. 23).
grounds for recusal are set forth in federal statutory
provision 28 U.S.C. § 455 entitled
“Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate
judge.” Section 455 states, in relevant part:
(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
(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a
party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts
concerning the proceeding;
(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the
matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously
practiced law served during such association as a lawyer
concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a
material witness concerning it; . . .
(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his
spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a
financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in
a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could
be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding; .
. . .
28 U.S.C. § 455(a)-(b)(4). “Section 455 contains
an objective standard: disqualification is appropriate only
where the reasonable person, were he to know all the
circumstances, would harbor doubts about the judge's
impartiality.” Mathis v. Huff & Puff Trucking,
Inc., 787 F.3d 1297, 1310 (10th Cir. 2015) (quoting
In re McCarthey, 368 F.3d 1266, 1269 (10th Cir.
2004)); see also United States v. Cooley, 1 F.3d
985, 993 (10th Cir. 1993) (observing that the question is
“whether a reasonable factual basis exists for
calling the judge's impartiality into question”).
“The scope of inquiry is limited to outward
manifestations and reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom.” McCarthey, 368 F.3d at 1269.
“Section 455 does not require recusal based only on
assumptions about a judge's beliefs that are not
substantiated by the facts of record.” Id. at
1269- 70. The Tenth Circuit has emphasized that
“[t]here is as much obligation for a judge not to
recuse when there is no occasion for him to do so as there is
for him to do so when there is.” Cooley, 1
F.3d at 994 (quoting Hinman v. Rogers, 831 F.2d 937,
939 (10th Cir. 1987)). Finally, a district court judge who is
the subject of a motion to disqualify has discretion to grant
or deny the motion. Xyngular Corp. v. Schenkel, 160
F.Supp.3d 1290, 1298 (D. Utah 2016) (citing Mathis,
787 F.3d at 1308-09).
Rahimi requests that this court rescues itself because
attorneys at Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless--this
judge's former firm and the firm where his son is
currently a partner-- represented Legacy LLC, which owns
Zermatt Resort, during the deposition of Ken Patey. Dr.
Rahimi also requests the case be heard by a judge “not
related to any large Salt Lake firms (Jones Waldo, Kirton
McKonkie, Snow Christensen, Ballard Spahr, and Parr
Brown).” (ECF no. 28, p. 4.)
Zermatt Resort, and Mr. Patey are not parties in this case.
The law firm of Parr Brown does not represent any parties in
this case. The dispute for which Parr Brown represented
Legacy is not the subject of this action. The law firm is not
clearly working on any issues that any result in this case
could impact. The fact that this judge was a former partner
and has a family member in a firm that is not representing
any parties on this case and that is not the subject of this
dispute does not show bias.
court sought supplemental briefing from Dr. Rahimi on this
issue and held a hearing during which the court asked Dr.
Rahimi for more specific information objectively
demonstrating an appearance of bias or any personal bias.
Despite these opportunities, Dr. Rahimi did not present
evidence showing a reasonable factual basis for calling the
court's impartiality into question. “The statute is
not intended to give ...