United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is pro se defendant Clarence Moses
Willis's (“Willis”) motion to set aside
clerk's entry of default. (ECF No. 220). Plaintiff
Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie
Mae”) filed a response (ECF No. 223), to which Willis
replied (ECF No. 230).
before the court is Willis's motion for recusal of
district judge. (ECF No. 228).
case arises from allegations of fraud, conspiracy to defraud,
slander of title, unjust enrichment, fraudulent conveyance,
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1723(a), trespass, and quiet
title to real property against defendants Willis, Ernest C.
Aldridge (“Aldridge”), Geri L. McKinnon,
Creative Solutions 4 U, LLC (collectively, as
Mae alleges that over the course of several months,
defendants have engaged in a conspiracy to defraud Fannie Mae
of its interest in eight (8) subject
properties. Fannie Mae further alleges that
defendants, without any legal right or authorization by
Fannie Mae, prepared, executed, and recorded deeds purporting
to transfer title from Fannie Mae to defendants.
February 25, 2016, Fannie Mae filed an amended complaint,
alleging nineteen (19) causes of action against the various
defendants. (ECF No. 41).
21, 2016, Fannie Mae served written discovery requests
including interrogatories, requests for production, and
requests for admission on Willis. On August 22, 2016, Willis
filed a motion for protective order (ECF No. 86) in regard to
Fannie Mae's written discovery. On September 14, 2016,
the court denied Willis's motion and instructed him to
respond to Fannie Mae's written discovery requests by
September 27, 2016. Willis, however, did not respond to
plaintiff's written discovery. After Willis informed
Fannie Mae that he was not available to attend his deposition
scheduled for September 16, 2016, Fannie Mae rescheduled and
re-noticed his deposition to December 21, 2016. On multiple
occasions, Fannie Mae communicated with Willis in regard to
his deposition in an attempt to coordinate. Willis did not
attend the deposition despite having received notice.
Fannie Mae requested that the court impose sanctions against
Willis, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37, for
failing to provide discovery and for failing to comply with
the court's orders. (ECF No. 160). In response, Willis
argued that he was not required to “offer
information” to Fannie Mae because Fannie Mae did not
comply with Rule 26. (ECF No. 168 at 2).
report and recommendation (“R&R”), Magistrate
Judge Foley recommended that Fannie Mae's motion for
sanctions against Willis (ECF No. 160) be granted, that
Willis's answer (ECF No. 39) be stricken, and that
default be entered against Willis. (ECF No. 190). Willis
filed an objection to the R&R, requesting that the court
disregard the magistrate judge's recommendation because
Mr. Anthony R. Sassis's affidavit was false. (ECF No. 195
April 27, 2017, the court entered an order (ECF No. 202)
adopting the R&R (ECF No. 190) in its entirety and
finding default to be an appropriate sanction pursuant to
Rule 37(b)(2)(A) for Willis's failure to obey an order to
provide or permit discovery. Thereafter, the clerk entered
default against Willis. (ECF No. 210).
instant motions, Willis moves to set aside the clerk's
entry of default (ECF No. 220) and requests that the
Honorable James C. Mahan recuse himself pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 455 (ECF No. 228).
Legal Standards & Discussion
initial matter, the court acknowledges that Willis's
documents were filed pro se and are therefore held
to less stringent standards. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed pro se
is to be liberally construed, and a pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.”) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). While Willis is pro se, he is nonetheless
bound by the same rules of procedure that govern other
litigants. See King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567
(9th Cir. 1987) (“Pro se litigants must follow the same
rules of procedure that govern other litigants.”);
see also Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir.
1995) (“Although we construe pleadings liberally in
their favor, pro se litigants are bound by the rules
of procedure.”); Jacobsen v. Filler, 790 F.2d
1362, 1364 (9th Cir. 1986) (“[P]ro se
litigants in the ordinary civil case should not be treated
more favorably than parties with attorneys of
Motion to Set Aside Clerk's Entry of ...