Gregory Swecker v. United States, No. 18-1243 (8th Cir. 2018)

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Court Description: Per Curiam - Before Wollman, Gruender and Stras, Circuit Judges] Civil case - Federal Tort Claims Act. No error in denying plaintiffs' motion to recuse; district court properly dismissed the action for failure to state a claim. Home | Contact Us | Employment | Glossary of Legal Terms | Site Map | RSS Privacy Policy|BrowseAloud
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United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 18-1243 ___________________________ Gregory Swecker; Beverly Swecker lllllllllllllllllllllPlaintiffs - Appellants v. United States Department of Agriculture, also known as Farm Service Agency, also known as Rural Utilities Service; Office of the Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights; United States of America lllllllllllllllllllllDefendants - Appellees ____________ Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Des Moines ____________ Submitted: October 29, 2018 Filed: November 1, 2018 [Unpublished] ____________ Before WOLLMAN, GRUENDER, and STRAS, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. Gregory and Beverly Swecker (collectively, “the Sweckers”) appeal from the judgment of the district court1 denying their motion to recuse, and dismissing with prejudice their action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), and the Federal Tort Claim Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), against the United States, and three agencies within the United States Department of Agriculture: the Farm Service Agency, the Rural Utilities Service, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights. The Sweckers contend that the district court (1) abused its discretion when it denied their motion to recuse; and (2) erred in granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Upon review, we conclude that the Sweckers’ claim of judicial bias lacks merit. See 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), (b)(1) (requiring recusal in proceeding in which judge’s impartiality might be reasonably questioned; or when he has personal bias or prejudice concerning party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning proceeding); United States v. Denton, 434 F.3d 1104, 1111 (8th Cir. 2006) (judge is presumed impartial and party seeking disqualification has substantial burden of proving otherwise). We further conclude that the district court properly dismissed the Sweckers’ complaint for failure to state a claim because each of their five purported causes of action were premised only on “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action.” See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (to survive motion to dismiss, complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state facially plausible claim to relief; complaint must show and not merely allege right to relief); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Kelly v. City of Omaha, 813 F.3d 1070, 1075 (8th Cir. 2016) (de novo review of grant of motion to dismiss for failure to state claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)). The judgment is affirmed. See 8th Cir. R. 47B. 1 The Honorable Robert W. Pratt, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa. -2-