Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Decision (apparently) made

Silence from the judge
on request for removal

By David Baker
Posted Wednesday April 11, 2012
(Update added at 5:15 p.m.)

It appears that Acting Supreme Court Judge Andrew Ceresia has decided not to grant a request that he remove himself from a case that involves the actions of a law firm where he was employed before becoming a judge.

With one day left before a conference in Samaritan Hospital vs. David Baker, Ceresia has not issued a decision on a motion for recusal – a request that the hospital has opposed. If he had stepped aside, he would not be conducting the preliminary conference. scheduled for Thursday morning.

A letter to the court clerk sent last week inquiring about the status of the recusal motion has produced no response.

The letter also requested that if the conference is to take place, a court stenographer be present to record the proceedings. Longtime readers of this blog may recall that one of the conferences in the earlier wrongful death case against Samaritan hospital – attended by three defense lawyers against a single unrepresesnted litigant – took place with no stenographer present, and that at subsequent conference and before the stenographer arrived, Judge Stephen A. Ferradino made a sarcastic comment about my request that the proceedings be recorded.

At another conference, a lawyer for the hospital said she wanted a referee to oversee depositions of her clients. According to the rules, such a request is supposed to be made ‘on notice.’ In other words, I should have been informed of it ahead of time. Instead, in less than 30 seconds Ferradino had not only agreed to the request but had picked up a piece of paper on his desk with the name of a retired judge already written on it.

It was obvious that the judge and the lawyer had arranged it all behind my back.

The lawyer was Kathleen Ryan. At that time she was with Carter, Conboy, Case, Blackmore, Maloney & Laird – the same law firm where Ceresia worked before becoming a judge.


UPDATE: After this item was posted, a secretary to the judge called and said that the conference is on for tomorrow. Asked if that means my motion for recusal has been denied, she said she could not provide any information. Asked if the judge would issue a written decision on the recusal motion, she said she could not provide any information. Asked if, as I have requested, there will be a stenographer at the conference, she said that is up to to the judge.