United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is defendant Ernest C. Aldridge's motion
to recuse district judge and request for oral argument. (ECF
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 Clarence Moses
Willis (“Willis”), Ernest C. Aldridge
(“Aldridge”), Geri L. McKinnon,  and 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).
instant motion, Aldridge requests that the Honorable James C.
Mahan recuse himself pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 144
& 455. (ECF No. 234).
Legal Standards & Discussion
initial matter, the court acknowledges that Aldridge'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 Aldridge 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
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
against him or in favor of any adverse party, such judge
shall proceed not further therein.” 28 U.S.C. §
144. Aldridge has not submitted an affidavit. Accordingly,
his claim for recusal under § 144 fails.
justice, judge, or 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). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455, the
presiding judge determines whether recusal is warranted.
United 4912 Canadian Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89130
(APN No. 125-36-814-012) (the “Canadian
property”); and 5654 Thunder Spirit Street, Las Vegas,
Nevada 89148 (APN No. 163-30-816-006) (the “Thunder
Spirit property”) (collectively, as the “subject
properties”). (ECF No. 41 at 5-14). United
States v. Azhocar, 581 F.2d 735, 867-68 (9th Cir.
1978). Section 455(a) is broad, requiring recusal “in
any proceeding in which [a judge's] impartiality might
reasonably be questioned.” 28 U.S.C. § 455(a);
Liljeberg v. Health Serv. Acquisition Corp., 486
U.S. 847, 860 n.8 (1988).
motion, Aldridge requests that the district judge recuse
himself because he has shown favoritism and improper conduct.
(ECF No. 234). Aldridge alleges that plaintiff's law
firm, Aldridge Pite LLP (no relation to defendant), filed the
complaint and recorded lis pendens on the nine
properties with no apparent authority from the plaintiff,
Fannie Mae. (Id.). Aldridge contends that Aldridge
Pite LLP failed to file a certificate of interested parties
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 7-1, and that this intentional
failure “and the apparent waiver of that rule by Mahan
is an impropriety that would lead any reasonable person to
conclude that Mahan has a vested monetary interest in FNMA-DC
and therefore will gain a profit or benefit from the outcome
of this undertaking.” (Id.). Additionally,
Aldridge offers baseless accusations the judge possesses
biases as to gender, as well as in favor of BAR members and
against pro se parties.
Aldridge alleges the court's repeated denials of
defendants' subject matter and personal jurisdiction
challenges amounted to the court “seiz[ing]
jurisdiction” over the matter and “issu[ing]
orders absent jurisdiction.” (ECF No. 234). As the
court has explained in many previous orders, jurisdiction
over this matter is proper. (ECF Nos. 114, 131, 185, 216).
§ 455 recusal to be warranted, the source of any alleged
bias must generally be extrajudicial. Liteky v. United
States, 510 U.S. 540, 551 (1994). Judicial bias or
prejudice formed during current or prior proceedings is
insufficient for recusal unless the judge's actions
“display a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that
would make fair judgment impossible.” Id. at
555. Thus, judicial rulings will support a motion for recusal
only “in the rarest of circumstances.”
court finds that Aldridge has failed to show that “the
rarest of circumstances” exist to support a motion for
recusal. While Aldridge alleges the judge possesses biases
that are in fact extrajudicial, his allegations are baseless
and outlandish. Nothing in the record indicates the judge
possesses any kind of gender bias, nor that he is financially
invested in the outcome of the matter. The judge's
consistent denial of defendants' motions is a ...