United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
HENRY HINTON, JR. PLAINTIFF
PIKE COUNTY, ET AL. DEFENDANTS
MICHAEL T. PARKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Reconsider Recusal  and Motion to Strike . Having
considered the Motions, the record, and the applicable law,
the Court finds that the Motions   should be DENIED.
to Strike 
omnibus hearing, the Court directed Defendants to produce to
Plaintiff copies of any policies, procedures, or memoranda
which were in effect during Plaintiff's incarceration
regarding (1) the dissemination or distribution of inmate
provisions; (2) a law library and/or inmate legal assistance;
and (3) the dissemination of soap to new inmates only. On
November 16, 2016, Defendants provided discovery responses.
See Notice . In his Motion to Strike ,
Plaintiff argues that the Court should strike the policies
and procedures that were produced by Defendants because they
are undated and unsigned. According to Plaintiff, “[i]t
is standard policy procedure to date and sign policies that
are in effect . . . .” The fact that the policies and
procedures produced by Defendants were undated and unsigned
may form a basis for questioning the probative value of these
documents, but it does not require that the Court strike
them. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion 
will be denied.
to Reconsider Recusal 
Motion , Plaintiff seeks the recusal of the
undersigned. Plaintiff argues that the undersigned has
shown favoritism and that the facts of this case “would
cause ‘any' person off the street to question the .
. . magistrate's impartiality.” Title 28 U.S.C.
§ 455 governs recusal of federal judges. The recusal
standard is an objective one. “[T]he relevant inquiry
is whether a reasonable man, were he to know all the
circumstances, would harbor doubts about the judge's
impartiality.” Trevino v. Johnson, 168 F.3d
173, 178 (5th Cir. 1999) (internal quotations and citation
omitted). Recusal can be based on extrajudicial factors such
as family relationships or intrajudicial factors such as
events occurring in court proceedings. Liteky v. United
States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994).
factors “do not constitute a basis for bias or
partiality motion unless they display a deep-seated
favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment
impossible.” Litely, 510 U.S. at 555. However,
“a motion for disqualification ordinarily may not be
predicated on the judge's rulings . . . .”
Phillips v. Joint Legislative Committee on Performance
& Expenditure Review, 637 F.2d 1014, 1020 (5th Cir.
1981). “Adverse judicial rulings will support a claim
of bias only if they reveal an opinion based on an
extrajudicial source or if they demonstrate such a high
degree of antagonism as to make fair judgment
impossible.” United States v. Scroggins, 485
F.3d 824, 830 (5th Cir. 2007).
points to multiple events in this action in support of his
Motion . Plaintiff complains that, at the omnibus
hearing, the undersigned and defense counsel “exchanged
very warm greeting including head nods and smiles.”
According to Plaintiff, “[i]t was evident to all that
witnessed the display that there is an underlying
connection” and “one can only speculate as to
whether the connection involves family, friends, or hunting
fishing and lodge camp ties . . . .” Plaintiff also
complains about the Court's “rapid”
questioning during the hearing, which included questions such
as what is your intent, what do you expect to accomplish, and
what is your purpose. According to Plaintiff, these questions
complaints do not constitute a sufficient basis for recusal
of the undersigned. The undersigned's exchange of
greetings with defense counsel would not lead a reasonable
person to doubt the undersigned's impartiality. See
Allen v. Parkland School Dist., 230 Fed. App'x. 189,
193 (3rd Cir. 2007) (holding that a judge's
“friendly greeting of opposing counsel” would not
lead a reasonable person to question his impartiality);
see also Schueller v. Wells Fargo & Co., 559
Fed. App'x. 733, 738-39 (10th Cir. 2014). Plaintiff's
rank speculation regarding the connections shared between the
undersigned and defense counsel is insufficient to justify
recusal. See Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana v. Harry L.
Laws Co., Inc., 690 F.2d 1157, 1167 (5th Cir. 1982);
see also Edmon v. Dallas County Sheriff's Dept.,
2002 WL 226343, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 13, 2002) (“A
judge, however, should not recuse himself based on
unsupported or irrational speculation.”). Additionally,
the Court's questioning of Plaintiff at the omnibus
hearing regarding the relief he is seeking was appropriate
considering that the purpose of the hearing, inter
alia, was to screen Plaintiff's claims. See
Order ; see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and
1915A; Spears v. McCotter, 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir.
also complains about certain rulings made by the Court.
Plaintiff points to the fact that at the omnibus hearing, the
Court found good cause to extend certain Defendants'
deadline to answer. Plaintiff also points to the fact that
the undersigned entered a Report and Recommendation ,
recommending that Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment
 be denied. Finally, Plaintiff complains that the
undersigned dismissed his claim based on Defendants'
failure to answer grievances and allowed Defendants to raise
the defense of failure to exhaust administrative remedies
after the deadline to do so.
previously mentioned, adverse or partially adverse rulings
ordinarily will not justify recusal. See Phillips,
637 F.2d at 1020; Scroggins, 485 F.3d at 830. The
rulings referred to by Plaintiff do not “reveal an
opinion based on an extrajudicial source” or
demonstrate any degree of antagonism. See Scroggins,
485 F.3d at 830. Moreover, Plaintiff misconstrues the
undersigned's ruling regarding his claims based on
Defendants' failure to answer grievances. During the
omnibus hearing, the undersigned explained to Plaintiff that,
as a matter of law, his allegations that Defendants failed to
respond to his grievances do not amount to a constitutional
violation. The Court also instructed Plaintiff that
if Defendants raised the issue of Plaintiff's failure to
exhaust administrative remedies, he could assert his
allegations regarding his grievances in response. Thereafter,
the Plaintiff stated that he no longer wished to pursue this
claim, and the undersigned entered a Report and
Recommendation , recommending that Plaintiff's claim
regarding Defendants' failure to respond to grievances be
undersigned did not grant Defendants leave to file a motion
to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies
after the deadline set by Order , but simply explained to
Plaintiff that the Court would allow him to raise his
allegations regarding the grievances in response to any such
motion filed by Defendants.
Plaintiff has presented no sufficient basis for recusal of
the undersigned, ...