United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISQUALIFY
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KEVIN S. C. CHANG, ECF NO. 142
MICHAEL SEABRIGHT CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ruth-Ann Springer, proceeding pro se, filed a letter which
the court construes as a Motion to Disqualify Magistrate
Judge Kevin S.C. Chang. ECF No. 142. Plaintiff identifies no
valid reason to remove Judge Chang from this action.
Accordingly, the Motion is DENIED.
8, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against numerous
Defendants, including several Hawaii County Police Officers
and realtor Lori Henbest (collectively,
“Defendants”), based on events arising from a
State of Hawaii foreclosure and eviction. ECF No. 1. On July
11, 2017, the court granted Plaintiff's Application to
proceed in forma pauperis, ECF No. 4, and on August 4, 2017,
issued an order directing service of the Complaint, ECF No.
16. The Clerk entered default against Henbest on April 11,
2018. ECF No. 82.
the orders issued by Magistrate Judge Chang during the course
of this litigation include: (1) a June 29, 2018 order denying
Plaintiff's request for free access to court documents,
ECF No. 98; (2) a July 10, 2018 order granting
Defendants' motion to compel discovery of Plaintiff's
medical records and warning Plaintiff that sanctions may be
imposed if she fails to comply timely, ECF No. 104; (3) an
August 28, 2018 order compelling Plaintiff to comply with the
July 10 order by September 4, 2018 and warning that failure
to comply timely “will result in the imposition of
sanctions, which may include dismissal of this action,
” ECF No. 124; and (4) a September 13, 2018 order
granting Henbest's motion to set aside entry of default,
ECF No. 140.
September 14, 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion
seeking an order disqualifying Magistrate Judge Chang because
he “is being very biased and prejudice[d] in the way he
is presiding and ruling in this case.” Mot. at 4.
Plaintiff contends that Magistrate Judge Chang is therefore,
“unfit to preside and rule” in this action.
Id. at 1. On October 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed a
motion to stay this action due to unforeseen medical
complications. ECF No. 156. On October 11, 2018, Judge Chang
granted the motion and stayed this action until January 31,
2019. ECF No. 157. On October 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed an
“Affidavit of Facts to Remove Judge Chang From Case
#17-00269 JMS-KSC Due to Bias and Prejudice.” ECF No.
Chang retired from active duty on January 4, 2019, and this
case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Rom Trader as
referral judge. ECF No. 161. On January 28, 2019, Judge
Trader sua sponte continued the stay of this action until
February 28, 2019. ECF No. 166. On February 19, 2019,
Plaintiff filed a motion to extend the stay another six
months. ECF No. 170. Judge Trader denied that motion on March
11, 2019, thereby terminating the stay. ECF No. 178.
to Local Rule 7.2(d), the court finds this matter suitable
for disposition without a hearing.
Standard of Review
applicable standards for disqualification of a federal judge
are found in 28 U.S.C. §§ 144 and
As provided in 28 U.S.C. § 144:
Whenever a party to any proceeding in a district court makes
and files a timely and sufficient affidavit that the judge
before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or
prejudice either against him or in favor of any adverse
party, such judge shall proceed no further therein, but
another judge shall be assigned to hear such proceeding.
The a\ffidavit shall state the facts and the reasons for the
belief that bias or prejudice exists, and shall be filed not
less than ten days before the beginning of the term at which
the proceeding is to be heard, or good cause shall be shown
for failure to file it within such time. A party may file
only one such affidavit in any case. It shall be ...