Although many tipsters (thank you!) alerted me to this motion to recuse filed before Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Judge John K. Olson last week, I was reluctant to blog about it.
To be honest, I still am.
In any event, Judge Olson has now forcefully (in my view, persuasively) addressed the motion on the record.
He held an expedited hearing on the motion Thursday afternoon, and just entered his order denying the recusal request.
The order has a pretty good summary of the alleged grounds, which I won't repeat here, but Judge Olson really gets going when he discusses the type of "disclosure" the movants appear to be requiring of him:
The movants would have me engage in pointless record disclosure at the beginning of every matter in which Ruden McClosky represents a party:As they say, read the whole thing.
For the record, I am getting married to an attorney who works for the Plaintiff’s firm. He is not involved in this case and recusal is therefore not required under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(5)(ii). He is a salaried attorney who has no interest which could be affected such that recusal is not required under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(4) or (b)(5)(iii). This record disclosure is required pursuant to § 455(a) and (e) to avoid any appearance of impropriety, but you are not entitled to withhold waiver because my fiancé’s employment is an insufficient basis for recusal under the case law applying § 455. Please confer outside of my presence and notify my law clerk when you are prepared to give your mandatory record waiver.And this is no joke. This is quite literally what the movants are asking for. Their misunderstanding of § 455 was painfully betrayed at the August 26th hearing when movants’ counsel forcefully argued that I should recuse myself from any matter in which Ruden McClosky represents a party. Whether movants’ counsel did not adequately research the case law on this subject, or simply did not digest it, I do not know. But fiery, impassioned oral argument in the face of a glass mountain of precedent, with no acknowledgment of that glass mountain, and no hint at a good faith basis for a change in the law? This is normally sanctionable under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011(b). The only reason why sanctions are not warranted here despite this appalling lack of diligence is the “layman perception” rule.