United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
PAUL C. JONES D.O.C. # 403455
GEO GROUP INC., ET AL.
KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court are a Motion for Recusal [doc. 19] and Motion to
Amend [doc. 20] filed in the instant suit by plaintiff Paul
Jones who is proceeding pro se in this matter. Jones
is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of
Public Safety and Corrections and is currently incarcerated
at Elayn Hunt Correctional Institute in St. Gabriel,
Louisiana. See doc. 19, att. 3. His complaint
relates to events that occurred while he was incarcerated at
Allen Correctional Center in Kinder, Louisiana.
filed a civil rights suit in this court on June 19, 2017, and
was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”). Docs. 1, 4. Upon initial review of his
complaint, however, we determined that he was barred from
proceeding IFP due to his history of filing at least three
complaints that were dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) as frivolous or failing to state a claim on
which relief could be granted. Doc. 13, pp. 1-2. We also
determined that Jones's allegations did not meet the
exception, under § 1915(g), through which a prisoner
might proceed IFP despite his history of dismissals if he can
show that he “is under imminent danger of serious
physical injury.” Id. Accordingly, by order
dated October 20, 2017, we rescinded our prior grant of IFP
status and ordered Jones to pay the full filing fee, $400,
within twenty days. Id. at 3. Jones was warned that
failure to comply and pay the full filing fee would result in
the pleadings being stricken from the record. Id.
November 29, 2017, the court received payment in the amount
of $20.00 from Jones, via transaction posted on November 17.
See Unnumbered Docket Entry, November 29, 2017.
Jones then submitted two requests for documents, received on
December 8, 2017. Docs. 14, 15. On December 27, 2017, noting
that Jones had not complied with our previous order by paying
the full filing fee within the allotted time period, we
ordered that his complaint be stricken from the
record. Doc. 17.
now moves for our recusal, disputing our conclusion of no
imminent danger in the order rescinding his IFP status. Doc.
19; doc. 19, att. 1. He also seeks to amend his complaint in
order to “specify facts giving rise to [his]
suit” and “identify other defendants
involved.” Doc. 20, att. 1, p. 1. In his memoranda in
support of these motions, he also provides his post-filing
transfer history, stating that he was transferred from Allen
Correctional Center to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center on June
26, 2017, then from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center to Dixon
Correctional Institute on August 14, 2017, then from Dixon
Correctional Institute back to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
on December 4, 2017. Doc. 19, att. 1, p. 3; doc. 20, att. 1,
first consider whether there is any basis for recusal and
then whether Jones should be allowed to reopen his case and
amend his complaint.
Motion to Recuse
28 U.S.C. § 455, grounds for recusal include the
judge's bias or prejudice concerning a party, personal
knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts, or when the
judge's partiality “might reasonably be
questioned.” Andrade v. Chojnacki, 338 F.3d
448, 454 (5th Cir. 2003). “[T]he alleged bias must be
personal, as distinguished from judicial, in nature.”
United States v. Scroggins, 485 F.3d 824, 830 (5th
Cir. 2007). Accordingly, “[a]dverse judicial rulings
will support a claim of bias only if they reveal an opinion
based on an extrajudicial source or if they demonstrate such
a high degree of antagonism as to make fair judgment
presents nothing other than his disagreement with our ruling
in this matter, alleging that it reflects a lack of
competency and that we should thus be disqualified from
handling his case. The ruling he challenges was a
determination, made based on our consideration of other
decisions in this district and courts in the Middle District
of Louisiana, that his ...