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IN RE MERCEDES-BENZ ANTITRUST LITIGATION

May 1, 2002

IN RE: MERCEDES-BENZ ANTITRUST LITIGATION MERCEDES-BENZ USA, INC., PLAINTIFF/COUNTERCLAIM DEFENDANT,
V.
COAST AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, LTD. AND TAMIM SHANSAB, DEFENDANTS/COUNTERCLAIMANTS/THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFFS, V. DAVID MICHAEL MOTOR CARS CORP., RAY CATENA MOTOR CARS CORP. AND CONTEMPORARY MOTORCARS, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alfred M. Wolin, United States District Judge

ORDER

In accordance with the Court's Memorandum Opinion filed herewith,

It is on this 1st day of May, 2002

ORDERED that the Court denies its own Order to Show Cause for recusal; and it is further

ORDERED that the objections of those parties arguing that the Court should recuse itself are overruled.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BACKGROUND

This matter has been pending before the Court for approximately three years. Following a substantial delay during which plaintiffs re-pled their complaint and the Court entertained two motions to dismiss, the Court assumed direct control of case management from the United States Magistrate Judge. A number of case management devices were put into place, as reflected in the Orders posted upon the web site of the Court. Among these were the establishment of lead and liaison counsel, a committee for the independent dealers, a special master, a document depository and an expedited schedule for discovery and briefing of a motion to certify the matter as a class action.

At the beginning of his lawsuit, the Court notified counsel that its son, Marc E. Wolin, Esquire, was then an associate at the law firm of Carpenter Bennett and Morrissey, counsel to the national distributor Mercedes-Benz USA. No party objected to the Court's continued involvement in this matter on that ground. With this procedure, the Court was following a practice of many years duration. Indeed, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has had the opportunity to rule on this issue where the Carpenter Bennett firm appeared before this Court, finding no abuse of discretion when the Court refused to recuse itself on the basis of Mr. Wolin's association. Sandusky v. Sodexho USA, No. 94-5655, slip op. at 6-7 (3d Cir. May 24, 1995).

The occasion of the Order to Show Cause revisiting this issue is Mr. Wolin's elevation to partner at Carpenter Bennett. The authority conceded by all parties to be primarily relevant is 28 U.S.C. § 455(b), which provides that a judge:

shall . . . disqualify himself in the following circumstances
(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such person:
(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the ...

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