Friday, September 9, 2016

Senior Judge Minora Grants Motion for Recusal

In the case of Schoenberg v. State Farm Insurance Company, No. 2012-CV-5005 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Aug. 10, 2016 Minora, S.J.), Senior Judge Carmen D. Minora of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas granted a Defendant’s Motion for Recusal. 

In his Opinion in the matter, Judge Minora noted that his noted that “[r]ecent United States Supreme Court cases regarding judicial disqualification and recusal dedicate a review of the new law in this area.” 

In analyzing Pennsylvania and Federal law on the issue, Judge Minora generally noted that a court proceeding begins with a presumption in favor of the court that a tribunal is fair, unbiased, and disinterested.   The trial court then has a duty to reveal any facts that would tend to show bias or interests making the tribunal arguably partial.   

At that point, the party concerns must motion to the court alleging facts as to why they believe the court is disqualified and thus seeking the court to recuse itself. 

Once the matter reaches that stage, a court must perform a subjective review of its appropriateness to handle the pending case.   Also, an objective test, a procedural test, and a code of judicial conduct review also ought to be taken.  

In the end, Judge Minora granted the Defendant’s requested recusal in part and denied it in part, resulting ultimately in the court’s decision to recuse itself.    

Anyone wishing to review a copy of Judge Minora's detailed analysis in Schoenberg for the deciding of a motion for recusal, may click this LINK.

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