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McLeod v. McLeod

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

May 29, 2015

STEVEN MCLEOD Plaintiff,
v.
HUGHEY F. MCLEOD Defendant.

Submitted: June 25, 2014

Upon Plaintiff's Motion to Disqualify Judge, DENIED.

Steven A. McLeod, pro se

Cynthia H. Pruitt, Esq., Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz & Bhaya, Attorney for Defendant.

OPINION

M. JANE BRADY, SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE

I. Introduction & Background

This is a personal injury case. Plaintiff Steven A. McLeod ("Plaintiff") alleges that he was sexually abused by his father, Defendant Hughey F. McLeod ("Defendant") from approximately December 1967 through January 1972. Both parties were domiciled in Delaware at the time of the alleged abuse, but both now reside in Florida. Plaintiff is incarcerated in Florida serving a life sentence. On April 29, 2011, Plaintiff filed the instant action under 10 Del. C. § 8145.

On April 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Disqualify Judge.[1] On April 17, 2014, this Court informed Plaintiff that the Court had received the instant Motion to Disqualify and had forwarded it to the President Judge because it was similar to the Motion for Reassignment pending before the President Judge.[2] The President Judge denied the Motion for Reassignment on May 29, 2014.[3]

On May 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Writ of Prohibition/Mandamus in the Supreme Court of Delaware.[4] On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court entered an Order dismissing Plaintiff's petition for the issuance of a writ of prohibition or a writ of mandamus.[5] The Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff's petition on the grounds that Plaintiff already has "an adequate and complete remedy at law, " which is to have the Motion to Disqualify decided by the trial judge.[6]

One year later, on May 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed a second Petition for Writ of Prohibition in the Supreme Court, noting that the Motion to Disqualify Judge had not been decided.[7] On May 18, 2015, this Court notified the Clerk of the Supreme Court that it had, in fact, overlooked the matter and would address it promptly. This is the Court's decision.

II. Plaintiff's Motion

Plaintiff argues that the trial judge should be disqualified due to "a continual and persistent pattern of incompetence, providing a reasonable person [reason] to question this Court's impartiality."[8] Plaintiff cites the judge's April 11, 2011 dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint based on the statute of limitations as an indicator of bias.[9] Plaintiff also cites (a) the fact that the decision was dated April 11, 2011 but not e-filed until April 29, 2011, and (b) the fact that the Court did not grant Plaintiff's Motion for Rehearing as evidence of bias.[10] Plaintiff appealed the dismissal to the Supreme Court, and the Court remanded the case, holding that the trial court should have addressed Plaintiff's equitable tolling argument.[11] The trial court then determined to permit the matter to proceed.[12]

On January 4, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Court Order Requiring Defendant to Produce Documents ("Motion for Court Order").[13] Plaintiff argues that the fact that the Motion had not been decided is evidence of judicial bias and inattention to his case.[14] As the Court explained in a recent Letter Opinion, the Motion for Court Order related to Plaintiff's argument that the instant case should not be dismissed as violative of the statute of limitations. Since the Court has already ruled in Plaintiff's favor on this matter and permitted the instant action to proceed, the Motion for Court Order is now moot.[15]

Plaintiff further points to the fact that the Court's July 17, 2012 Order granting Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis was originally erroneously dated July 17, 2010 due to a typographical error.[16] Plaintiff also argues that the judge erred in failing to mail him personally a copy of her January 23, 2013 Opinion denying Plaintiff's Motion to Allow Alternative Method of Service[17] ...


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