Mack Sperling: The 4th Circuit On Recusals And Pro Hac Vice Admissions

Mack Sperling: The 4th Circuit On Recusals And Pro Hac Vice Admissions


We all sometimes say things that we are sorry to have said.  Even judges. Those types of statements by a District Court Judge in South Carolina, which the Fourth Circuit called "neither wise nor temperate" were the subject of a recusal motion ruled on last week by the Fourth Circuit, in Belue v. Aegon USA, Inc.   The Court also discussed the circumstances under which a pro hac vice admission can be withdrawn, taking issue with the trial judge's revocation of that status.

The comments by Judge Anderson of the District of South Carolina were made in connection with a hearing in a class action matter.  He criticized a related settlement in another jurisdiction as possibly being one "of those buddy settlements we have to watch out for."  He was also critical of the defendants' approach in another case and suggested that the settlement in that case had been "improper."

This prompted the defendants' lawyers to file a motion to recuse Judge Anderson pursuant to 28 U.S.C. sec. 455 (b)(1), which requires recusal when a judge "has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding."

The Judge's reaction to the motion to recuse was fiery.  He said it was the defense counsel's reaction to negative rulings, saying "you lose the case and attack the judge."  He called the request for recusal "the most inappropriate motion in the world."

Read this article in its entirety on North Carolina Business Litigation Report, a blog for lawyers focusing on issues of North Carolina business law and the day-to-day practice of business litigation in North Carolina courts.

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