United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves United States District Judge
November 1, 2018, Blane Seeber and Uriah Marquis Pasha
jointly filed a civil rights complaint against prison
officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Record No. 1] At the
time of the filing, Seeber was confined at the Northpoint
Training Center in Burgin, Kentucky, while Pasha was located
at the Kentucky State Reformatory in LaGrange, Kentucky.
After reviewing the online PACER database, the Court
determined that “Uriah Marquis Pasha, who has also
proceeded under the aliases “Jacta Est Alea” and
“Kenneth Uriah Ross”, has filed approximately 56
civil lawsuits and/or appeals in the United States District
Courts for the Eastern and Western District of Kentucky, the
United States District Court for the Central District of
California, and the United States Court of Appeals for the
Sixth Circuit, including approximately seven petitions for a
writ of habeas corpus.
Court pointed out in its November 7, 2018, Order, under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g), a prisoner must pay the filing fee in
full at the outset of the case if the prisoner has, while in
custody, filed three or more civil cases or appeals in
federal court which were dismissed as frivolous or for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g). [Record No. 7] Further, the Court
noted that, Pasha has repeatedly been barred from proceeding
in civil litigation without payment of the filing fee in full
at the outset of the case pursuant to § 1915(g). See
In re Alea, 286 F.3d 378 (6th Cir. 2002) (recognizing
that Pasha, aka, Jacta Est Alea, meets the criteria for
application of the “three strikes” provision of
§ 1915(g)). See also, e.g., Huffines, et
al., v. Rees, No. 3: 05-cv-125-CRS (W.D. Ky.) at Record
No. 35 (denying Pasha's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to § 1915(g)) and Record No. 55
(dismissing the complaint on screening for failure to state a
claim); Jacta Est Alea (aka, Uriah Marquis Pasha) v. P.A.
Rose, et al., No. 99-cv-201-TBR-CCG (W.D. Ky.) at Record
No. 10 (vacating order granting plaintiff in forma
pauperis status, as he is required to pay full filing
fee at the time of filing pursuant to § 1915(g));
Jacta Est Alea (aka, Kenneth Uriah Ross, aka, Uriah
Marquis Pasha) v. Kentucky Law Makers-Justices, et al.,
No. 3: 99-cv-362-JGH-JDM (W.D. Ky.) at Record No. 4. [Record
No. 7] Thus, as a result of the three strikes provision of
§ 1915(g), Pasha was not allowed to proceed in forma
pauperis in this action.
to the nature of the claims asserted by Seeber and Pasha, the
Court also noted that, while the Complaint spans 30 pages and
consists of 132 numbered paragraphs, only 12 of those
paragraphs relate to Seeber's claims of excessive force
and inadequate medical care arising from a specific incident
in which prison officials believed that Seeber had a blue
balloon in his mouth, which was never found. [Record No. 1 at
¶ 4-6, 63-70, 100] The remainder of the paragraphs
allege claims specific to Pasha, including claims of
deliberate indifference to his medical needs, due process
violations and other First and Eighth Amendment violations,
arising from unrelated incidents in which Seeber was not
involved. As a result, the Court determined that, under Rule
21 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “the most
economical and just manner in which to proceed is to sever
Seeber's claims from this action.” [Record No. 7]
In making this determination, the Court reflected on the fact
that Pasha has a history of attempting to file litigation
jointly with other inmates and the allegations related to
Pasha's claims clearly dominate the tendered Complaint.
Severance of the plaintiffs' claims is also the better
course because Seeber and Pasha are no longer housed in the
same facility and Seeber did not sign his motion to proceed
in this case in forma pauperis, raising questions
regarding Seeber's involvement in pursuing his claims.
the foregoing, Plaintiff Pasha has filed a “Motion to
Recuse due to Bigotry, ” claiming that race was a
factor in the Court's earlier decision. [Record No. 15]
With regard to this claim, judicial disqualification or
recusal is required under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a) “in
any proceeding in which [the Court's] impartiality might
reasonably be questioned.” Section 455(b)(1) further
requires disqualification “[w]here [the judge] has a
personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal
knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the
proceeding.” “A district court judge must recuse
himself where a reasonable person with knowledge of all the
facts would conclude that the judge's impartiality might
reasonably be questioned.” United States v.
Dandy, 998 F.2d 1344, 1349 (6th Cir. 1993) (quotation
marks omitted). This is an objective standard. Id.
As explained in Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S.
First, judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid
basis for a bias or partiality motion . . . In and of
themselves (i.e., apart from surrounding comments or
accompanying opinion), they cannot possibly show reliance
upon an extrajudicial source; and can only in the rarest
circumstances evidence the degree of favoritism or antagonism
required . . . when no extrajudicial source is involved.
Almost invariably, they are proper grounds for appeal, not
for recusal. Second, opinions formed by the judge on the
basis of facts introduced or events occurring in the course
of the current proceedings, or of prior proceedings, do not
constitute a basis for a bias or partiality motion unless
they display a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that
would make fair judgment impossible.
Id. at 555.
Sixth Circuit has adopted the Liteky standard in
judicial disqualification cases and has cautioned that
“[t]here is as much obligation upon a judge not to
recuse himself when there is no occasion as there is for him
to do so when there is.” Easley v. Univ. of Mich.
Bd. of Regents, 853 F.2d 1351, 1356 (6th Cir. 1988)
(alteration in original) (citation omitted); see also
Lyell v. Renico, 470 F.3d 1177, 1186-87 (6th Cir. 2006).
And as the Sixth Circuit noted in City of Cleveland v.
Krupansky, 619 F.2d 576 (6th Cir. 1980), unnecessary
recusals waste judicial resources. Likewise, granting
groundless disqualification motions also encourages
Court has considered the factors of 28 U.S.C. § 455 and
determines that recusal is neither required nor warranted.
Simply put, race was not a factor considered in the
Court's decision to sever Pasha's claims from those
asserted by Seeber, and there is no objective or reasonable
basis for the plaintiff to make such a claim. Following
severance, both parties were permitted to pursue their claims
based on the merit of each. However, Pasha will not be
allowed to avoid payment of the required filing fee by
joining his claims with those of Seeber. That is not a
decision involving race, but the effect of frivolous
litigation that Pasha has pursued previously.
it is hereby
that Plaintiff Uriah Marquis Pasha's motion for recusal