Keach v. County of Schenectady
Appealed from the Northern District of New York
Background: Attorney Keach’s motion for recusal was denied. Keach argues Judge Sharpe should have recused himself from further proceedings on his sua sponte order to show cause as to why Keach should not be sanctioned, and in any event erred in making several erroneous findings that Keach engaged in professional misconduct. Keach was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit, eventually settled for $2.5 million, against Schenectady County and a number of its officials. Following the settlement, the district court awarded an attorney’s fee significantly less than Keach had requested. Keach’s appeal of the fee decision set off a series of events that led the district court to consider whether Keach should be sanctioned for his behavior and, ultimately, to the current appeal.
Ruling: Because the district court merely engaged in routine judicial commentary and criticism of the attorney, while declining to impose sanctions and making no findings of professional misconduct, the court lacks jurisdiction over the appeal. The case is dismissed.
John R. Supple of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP for the appellant, and Jonathan M. Bernstein of Goldberg Segalla LLP for the appellees