On Friday, July 7, 2023, Bloomberg Law reported that a D.C. federal judge is recommending Judge Paul Newman and her Federal Circuit colleagues to consider mediation as a means to settle the 96-year-old’s assertions that an investigation into her ability to continue working should be moved to a different jurisdiction.

In a report by the AbusiveDiscretionit was reported that on May 10, 2023, Honorable Pauline Newman initiated legal proceedings in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The action was directed against Hon. Kimberly A. Moore, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, as well as several other justices. This filing was made in response to a formal complaint lodged by Hon. Moore against Judge Newman, expressing concerns about her ability to fulfill her judicial duties effectively.

The main focus of Hon. Moore’s complaint centers around an allegation that Judge Newman displays an excessive delay in issuing opinions, leading to a negative impact on the efficient functioning of the justice system. In her complaint, Hon. Moore maintains that she has reasonable grounds to believe that Judge Newman may not be capable of carrying out her responsibilities adequately. Furthermore, Hon. Moore references accounts from fellow colleagues and individuals associated with the court who have expressed worries about Judge Newman’s overall competence to serve in her current judicial capacity.

In her defense, Judge Newman emphasized that the existing statutes and codes of conduct do not grant the Chief Judge, acting independently or any judicial council of a circuit, the authority to issue orders or directives that would hinder the assignment of cases to an active Article III judge in their customary sequence during the ongoing investigation.

In the latest development regarding the case, Judge Christopher R. Cooper from the US District Court for the District of Columbia expressed that the case “strongly suggests the need for mediation” and inquired whether the involved parties have attempted to resolve the matter through informal discussions. Cooper proposed the services of a former federal judge who would be highly suitable for mediating the issues at hand. These issues include determining the extent to which Newman should disclose medical records and undergo neurological testing, as well as defining the scope of her responsibilities during this period.

In relation to this, Cooper granted the parties a two-day period to engage in discussions regarding the possibility of mediation. If they fail to reach a mutual agreement on this matter, the claims will proceed to a federal court briefing concerning Newman’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Additionally, a private hearing was scheduled at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last July 13 to address the issue of whether Newman’s refusal to cooperate with the internal investigation amounts to sanctionable misconduct.

 

Source: Bloomberg Law