ILNews

7th Circuit denies petition to remove judge

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for writ of mandamus to remove a federal judge from a case he is involved with that’s still pending in District Court. The man failed to intervene in the case and his interest in the case is too uncertain to give him the rights of a party automatically, the judges ruled Friday.

Rich Bergeron repeatedly asked U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana to recuse herself in Eppley v. Iacovelli. Plastic surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley sued former patient Lucille Iacovelli in 2009 for defamation and other claims stemming from her dissatisfaction with a face-lift he performed. Judge Barker issued a preliminary injunction ordering Iacovelli and anyone acting as her agent to remove all Internet postings that referred to the surgeon. Bergeron maintained some of those websites, so he was subject to the preliminary injunction. He didn’t remove the postings and was held in contempt and ordered to pay Eppley more than $1,700 as a sanction. Iacovelli died in August 2010, but the defamation suit remains pending, now naming her sister as the defendant.

In addition to finding that Bergeron never intervened in that defamation case and his interest in it is too uncertain to give him the rights of a party automatically, the Circuit judges addressed his desire to remove the judge from the contempt proceeding. Mandamus is a proper vehicle for removing a judge from a case on the ground that the judge’s impartiality might be questioned, as Bergeron argues, wrote Judge Richard Posner in In Re: Rich Bergeron, No. 10-3279.
 
Bergeron asked for the mandamus before Judge Barker concluded the contempt proceeding, but he didn’t ask the 7th Circuit to stay the proceeding in the District Court. Now it’s too late for the appellate court to order the judge removed from the case because she’s finished with it, Judge Posner continued.

“We could order a do-over of the contempt proceeding were this an egregious case of apparent bias … but the appearance of impropriety in this case is too attenuated to justify that extraordinary remedy.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

  2. I was looking through some of your blog posts on this internet site and I conceive this web site is rattling informative ! Keep on posting . dfkcfdkdgbekdffe

  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

ADVERTISEMENT