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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
September 29, 2021, Decided; September 29, 2021, Filed
CIVIL ACTION NUMBER: 20-1338 SECTION: "J"(5)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Plaintiff's "Motion to Recuse Magistrate." (Rec. doc. 57). One of the Defendants, the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans ("ANO"), filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion. (Rec. doc. 61). Plaintiff filed a reply memorandum (rec. doc. 64) and I held a hearing on the motion on August 11, 2021, after which I took the motion under advisement. (Rec. doc. 65). Having thoroughly considered the pleadings and exhibits, along with the argument of counsel at the hearing and facts known to me as the subject of the motion, I find that the motion should be and is hereby denied. Here are the reasons.
I. THE RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This case is one of scores of similar matters currently pending in this District. Like many of the others, it was removed by ANO following its declaration [*3] of bankruptcy. (Rec. doc. 1). In this case, Plaintiff, James Doe, has sued ANO; two of its insurers; and two individuals, Michael Fraser ("Fraser") and Paul Calamari ("Calamari"), alleging that Fraser and Calamari sexually abused him when he was a young boy and they were Roman Catholic priests and that said abuse was covered up by ANO. (Rec. doc. 1-1). Plaintiff's counsel in this case are also enrolled as counsel of record in more than 20 sexual-abuse cases in this District involving ANO, notably (for present purposes) including J.W. Doe v. Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Civil Action No. 20-CV-1321 (hereinafter "Hecker"), to which I was randomly assigned as the presiding Magistrate Judge.
Both this case and the Hecker case were stayed by the respective presiding District Judges owing to the pending ANO bankruptcy proceedings. In the bankruptcy case, Plaintiff's counsel moved for a limited lift-stay order that would be applicable in both cases to take the depositions of Hecker and Calamari because of their advanced age. (Rec. doc. 18 in Hecker). Specifically, Plaintiff's counsel indicated a desire to "propound limited written discovery on and depose the Non-Debtor [*4] Defendant Priests due to their advanced age and a fear that those priests may pass away prior to the resolution of the Archdiocese's bankruptcy case." (Rec. doc. 18-2 p. 13 in Hecker). The Bankruptcy Judge agreed, but noted that it "does not exercise jurisdiction over the State Court Actions, as they are currently pending in the District Court; therefore, the task of staging discovery in those cases in such a way that will permit the movants to depose the Non-Debtor Defendant Priests—without impairing the interests of the Debtor—rests with the District Court judges assigned to the State Court Actions." (Id. at 13-14). The "Non-Debtor Defendant Priests" referenced in that order were Hecker and Calamari - defendants in two different cases pending in this District Court.
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2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186498 *; 2021 WL 4460465
JAMES DOE VERSUS ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS INDEMNITY, INC., ET AL.
Prior History: Doe v. Archdiocese of New Orleans Indem., Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143512, 2020 WL 4593443 (E.D. La., Aug. 11, 2020)
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