• October 9, 2013

Minnesota Litigator noted the recusal of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeanne J. Graham (D. Minn.) in the case of Kroll OnTrack v. Devon IT (previously covered here) this past week.

The case had been before the judge since last February.  What is up with that?

Here is the federal recusal statute.  As all litigators know, neither the statute nor common practice requires disclosure of the basis for recusal.  It can be one of those mysteries, one of the many nagging questions that goes forever unanswered.

Does it have to be that way?  Should judges be required to disclose why they are recusing themselves (or why they are not)?

No.  They should not.

Here is why.  A judge must recuse herself, among other times, when she “has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.”  Therefore, compelling a judge to disclose, say, personal animus for a lawyer or a party, forcing a judge to disclose knowledge of facts that, perhaps, would require personal revelations that are “nobody’s business,” would obviously be highly disruptive to our judicial system.

So, for whatever reason, this convoluted e-discovery ****storm now lands on U.S. Mag. Judge Tony N. Leung’s (D. Minn.) desk.  Just as well maybe?  Judge Leung has spent time blazing a path out of another murky matrix of an electronic hell fairly recently.  Maybe he will have luck helping these parties navigate their way out of this current mess as well.

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