United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR CHANGE OF JUDGE
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Estate of Nicholas
Lee Glisson's (“the Estate”) Motion
for Recusal (“Motion”). [Filing No.
123.] The Estate claims that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 455(a), the presiding judge in this matter must recuse
herself because of personal animus against the Estate's
counsel (“Counsel”). Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 137, the presiding judge requested that the
Chief Judge either review the Motion or reassign it to
another judicial officer. [Filing No. 125.] The
Chief Judge reassigned the Motion to herself. [Filing No.
127.] For the reasons stated below, the Court
DENIES the Estate's Motion and remands
this matter to the presiding judge.
Estate filed this Complaint in Indiana state court on August
31, 2012. [Filing No. 1-1.] The Complaint was
subsequently removed to federal court because of the
Estate's Eighth Amendment claims and randomly assigned to
the presiding judge on October 2, 2012. [Filing No.
4, 2014, the presiding judge granted in part Defendant
Correctional Medical Services, Inc.'s
(“CMS”) Motion for Summary Judgment
(“Order”) as to all federal claims
asserted against it and remanded the case to the Marion
Superior Court. [Filing No. 92.]
March 2, 2015, following the presiding judge's denial of
the Estate's Motion for Reconsideration, [Filing No.
100], the Estate filed a Notice of Appeal. [Filing
No. 101.] The Seventh Circuit originally affirmed, but
subsequently, sitting en banc, reversed and remanded
the case with respect to the Estate's Monell
claim. Glisson v. Ind. Dep't of Corrs., 849 F.3d 372
(7th Cir. 2017), cert. denied sub nom. Corr. Med.
Servs., Inc. v. Glisson, No. 16-1406, ___ U.S. ___ (U.S.
Oct. 2, 2017) (No. 16-1406).
Motion for Recusal
October 30, 2017, the Estate filed the instant Motion,
alleging that the presiding judge cannot impartially oversee
the Estate's case due to personal bias against Counsel.
[Filing No. 123.] In support of its Motion, the
Estate alleges, without any supporting evidence, that the
presiding judge “has directed condescending remarks at
[Counsel] in front of juries many times.” [Filing
No. 123 at 1.] The Estate also states, without citation,
that “Counsel has reversed this court several
times.” [Filing No. 123 at 1.] Finally, the
Estate asserts that the presiding judge “has also
presided over many cases prosecuted by [Counsel],
…including a case in which [the presiding judge]
respect to this last assertion, the Estate attached a
previous Motion for Change of Judge, [Filing No.
123-1], filed by Counsel, as well as the accompanying
Entry on Plaintiff's Motion for Change of Judge
(“Change of Judge Order”). [Filing
No. 123-2.] In Counsel's Motion for Change of Judge,
also filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a),
Counsel asserted that the presiding judge was a
“personal friend” of a defendant that was named
both individually and in his official capacity as the Marion
County Sheriff. [Filing No. 123-1 at 2.] The sheriff
had previously served as United States Marshal in the
Southern District of Indiana before he was elected sheriff.
[Filing No. 123-1 at 1.] In that case,
Counsel alleged, without record citation, that the sheriff
“considers himself a friend of the sitting judge,
[therefore] it appears that the plaintiff would not have an
impartial review of the merits of his claims.”
[Filing No. 123-1 at 2.]
Change of Judge Order, entered on December 9, 2010, the
presiding judge recused herself from the case, “but
not for the reasons cited by Plaintiff.”
[Filing No. 123-2 at 1 (emphasis in original).] The
presiding judge noted that she had presided over numerous
cases when the sheriff was a named party and “ruled
against him, awarded damages against his office, and even
held him in contempt.” [Filing No. 123-2 at
1.] The presiding judge ruled as follows:
The undersigned's relationship with [the sheriff], though
longstanding, has been and remains professional and not
personal. Nevertheless, the undersigned judge grants
Plaintiff's motion because doing so will remove from the
future conduct of this litigation any concerns about her
ability to be fair and impartial and ease the mind of
Plaintiff's counsel who has, on many occasions, expressed
publicly his lack of confidence in said judge, giving rise to