United States District Court, D. Nevada
MIRANDA M. DU CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Lula Taylor initiated this action pro se to assert a
claim for negligence arising from an incident where she
slipped and fell from a liquid substance on the floor of an
aisle at Defendant Costco Wholesale Corporation's
premises. (ECF No. 1 at 8-9.) Before the Court is
Plaintiff's motion for declaratory judgment (ECF No. 84)
and second motion for recusal (ECF No. 92). For the reasons
explained below, the Court will deny both motions.
MOTION FOR RECUSAL
seeks this Court's recusal under 28 U.S.C. §§
455 and 144. Section 455(a) mandates recusal if the
judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
Section 455(b)(1) compels recusal where a judge has personal
bias or prejudice towards the moving party. Section 144
provides that a party may submit an affidavit that the
presiding judge “has a personal bias or prejudice
against [her] or in favor of any adverse party” and
requires that said affidavit “state the facts and the
reasons” for such belief.
asserts generally that I am biased against her as a pro
se litigant. (ECF No. 93 at 2-3.) However, she fails to
offer any facts or reasons to support her claim of bias.
requests recusal because she has recently filed a civil
rights complaint naming me. (ECF No. 92 at 23; Taylor, et
al. v. Sullivan, et al., 3:19-cv-668 (D. Nev. Nov. 5,
2019).) However, “[a] judge is not disqualified by a
litigant's suit or threatened suit against [her].”
United States v. Studley, 783 F.2d 934, 940 (9th
Cir. 1986). “The law does not allow a party to create a
conflict and use it as a basis for a request for
recusal”-as Plaintiff attempts here. United States
v. Bundy, No. 2:16-CR-046-GMN-PAL, 2016 WL 3012041, at
*2 (D. Nev. May 24, 2016) (citation omitted). Accordingly,
the Court finds there is no valid basis for Plaintiff to seek
recusal and denies Plaintiff's motion for recusal (ECF
MOTION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
requests that this Court declare that Plaintiff's social
security number is beyond the scope of discovery. (ECF No. 84
at 21.) But the motion is procedurally defective because such
requests normally requires the “the filing of an
appropriate pleading, ” 28 U.S.C. §
reasons below, the Court construes Plaintiff's motion for
declaratory judgment as a motion for reconsideration. Earlier
in the litigation, Plaintiff objected to Judge Baldwin's
order (ECF No. 36 (“First Minute Order”)) that
Plaintiff disclose her social security number, and insisted
the information is “privileged.” (ECF No. 40 at
5.) The Court overruled the objection because “a
person's social security information is not the type of
‘privileged' materials contemplated under [Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure] 26(b).” (ECF No. 63 at 3 n.2.)
Judge Baldwin later ordered Plaintiff to supplement her
discovery responses (ECF No. 74 (“Second Minute
Order”)). Plaintiff filed an objection to the Second
Minute Order (ECF No. 76), which this Court denied (ECF No.
78). Plaintiff again filed an objection to the Second Minute
Order (ECF No. 80), which the Court construed as a motion for
reconsideration and denied the motion (ECF No. 81 at 1).
Plaintiff now attempts a third time to relitigate the First
and Second Minute Orders in the guise of a motion for
declaratory judgment. (ECF No. 84.) In fact, it is a motion
for reconsideration, which the Court will treat as such.
motion to reconsider must set forth “some valid reason
why the court should reconsider its prior decision” and
set “forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature
to persuade the court to reverse its prior decision.”
Frasure v. United States, 256 F.Supp.2d 1180, 1183
(D. Nev. 2003). Reconsideration is appropriate if this Court
“(1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2)
committed clear error or the initial decision was manifestly
unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in
controlling law.” Sch. Dist. No. 1J v. AC&S,
Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). “A motion
for reconsideration is not an avenue to re-litigate the same
issues and arguments upon which the court already has
ruled.” Brown v. Kinross Gold, U.S.A., 378
F.Supp.2d 1280, 1288 (D. Nev. 2005). The crux of Plaintiffs
argument is that compelling her to disclose her social
security number is a violation of Section 7 of the Federal
Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a note. (ECF No. 84
at 3, 14.) But courts have interpreted the statute as
exempting the entire judicial branch of government. See,
e.g., Ramirez v. Dep't of Justice, 594 F.Supp.2d 58,
62 (D.D.C. 2009) (citing to 5 U.S.C. § 551(1)(B)).
Besides Plaintiff's misplaced reliance on the Privacy
Act, her motion is not rooted in any other valid ground for
therefore ordered that Plaintiffs motion for recusal (ECF No.
84) is denied.
further ordered that Plaintiffs motion for declaratory
judgment (ECF No. 92), construed as a ...