Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jersey Asparagus Farms, Inc v. Rutgers University

April 25, 2011

JERSEY ASPARAGUS FARMS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson, United States District Judge:

**NOT FOR PUBLICATION**

OPINION

This matter arises out of a license agreement through which Plaintiff Jersey Asparagus Farms, Inc. ("JAFI") was authorized by Defendant Rutgers University ("Rutgers") to sell the latter's patented varieties of asparagus. Presently before the Court is JAFI's motion for recusal based on my purported connections to Rutgers. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is denied.

The decision of whether to recuse lies within the discretion of the trial judge. United States v. Wilensky, 757 F.2d 594, 599--600 (3d Cir. 1985). There are two federal statutes that dictate the circumstances under which a federal judge should recuse. Section 455(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code provides in pertinent part that "[a]ny justice, judge, or magistrate [magistrate judge] of the United States shall disqualify himself In any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). When reviewing motions for recusal, the Third Circuit applies an objective standard. See Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Inc. v. American Bar Ass'n, 107 F.3d 1026, 1042 (3d Cir. 1997). "The test for recusal under § 455(a) is whether a reasonable person, with knowledge of all the facts, would conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned." Allen v. Parkland Sch. Dist., 230 Fed. Appx. 189, 193 (3d Cir. Apr. 27, 2007) (citing In re Kensington, 353 F.3d 211, 220 (3d Cir. 2003). See also United States v. Martorano, 866 F.2d 62, 68 (3d Cir. 1989) (stating "[m]otions to recuse under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a) must rest on ... objective facts ... not on possibilities' and unsubstantiated allegations.")

Motions for recusal are also governed by Section 144 of Title 28 of the United States Code. Recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 144 is mandatory "[w]henever a party to any proceeding in a district court makes and files a timely and sufficient affidavit that the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse party." 28 U.S.C. § 144. A "substantial burden is imposed on the party filing an affidavit of prejudice to demonstrate that the judge is not impartial." Sharp v. Johnson, No. 00-2156, 2007 WL 3034024 (W.D.Pa. Oct. 15, 2007). In satisfying this burden, the movant must make a three-fold showing: (1) the facts must be material and stated with particularity; (2) the facts must be such that, if true they would convince a reasonable man that a bias exists; (3) the facts must show the bias is personal, as opposed to judicial, in nature. United States v. Thompson, 483 F.2d 527, 528 (3d Cir. 1973).

Here, JAFI asserts that my connections to Rutgers are so extensive that my impartiality might reasonably be questioned. In support of this contention, JAFI points to the following facts it had compiled from an internet search (stated in third-person):

* She is a 1976 graduate of Rutgers University, Douglass College.

* She graduated from Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 1979.

* She was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Alumni Association of the Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 2002.

* She was asked to deliver (and delivered) the convocation address at Rutgers School of Law in 2009.

* She is featured on two separate pages of the Rutgers.edu website.

* Her husband is a 1974 graduate of Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

* Her husband is a 1977 graduate of Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

* Her husband has been an adjunct professor at Rutgers School of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.