United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiffs previously filed a “Motion to Disqualify
Judge [Virginia Emerson Hopkins] for Bias or Prejudice Under
28 U.S. Code 144 and the Due Process Clause of the U.S.
Constitution.” (Doc. no. 150 (alteration supplied)). As
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Alabama, I ordered that motion to be
referred to Senior Judge C. Lynwood Smith, Jr., for
disposition. (Doc. no. 151.)
Smith's Memorandum Opinion and Order denying
plaintiffs' motion was entered on April 3, 2018. (Doc.
not satisfied,  plaintiffs filed a “ Motion to Have
Judge Lynwood Smith Declared Disqualified From Hearing Their
Motion to Disqualify Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins and to
Have His Ruling Declared Void Because of Conflict of Interest
that Smith Failed to Disclose.” (Doc. no. 157).
Specifically, plaintiffs' motion alleges:
“1. One of the primary defendants in this matter is Rob
Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley. Most of the other
defendants are politically or professionally connected to Rob
and Bob Riley.”
“2. According to published reports, Judge Lynwood Smith
and Bob Riley are cousins. That means Judge Smith is related
to Defendant Rob Riley.”
“3. No. wonder Judge Smith denied the Shulers'
motion to disqualify Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins for
obvious bias and prejudice. He obviously is biased and
prejudiced toward defendants who either are members of his
family and [sic] connected to members of his
Id. at 2, ¶¶ 1-3.
statutory provision relevant to the issue raised by
plaintiffs' motion is codified in 28 U.S.C. § 455,
and the pertinent portions read as follows:
(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge
of the United States shall disqualify himself in any
proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the
. . .
(5) He or his spouse, or a person within
the third degree of relationship to either of
them, or the spouse of such a person:
(i) Is a party to the proceeding,
or an officer, director, or ...