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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 110516
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Im pro se in a federal civil suit. It has gone along for a

Resolved Question:

I'm pro se in a federal civil suit. It has gone along for a year or so with pleadings filed back and forth. All of a sudden I get an order from the court ruling against me but it was from a different judge. Not the one that ruled on everything else for the past year. Is this permissable? And I'm really looking for the specifics of what law/FRCP/case law allows them to do this. Does it violate anything ethics, law, FRCP wise?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
While it is permissible, it is highly unusual unless the original judge was sick or was not on the bench to rule on the matter and had a substitute judge. The FRCP does not prohibit another judge sitting in for the trial judge, it is not unethical or against any laws. However, I would contact the court and find out why another judge heard your case, many times in Federal Court certain matters are sent to a magistrate to rule on and not the judge, if that was the case here then this is common. If this was a ruling from another judge in the circuit, then you need to find out from the clerk what happened to your judge.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
A magistrate was taking care of the case all along and then the final ruling was done by the Senior Judge. Does this change your answer at all?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
Big difference and this is common. When a magistrate is hearing a case and makes a final ruling, an actual judge must issue the ruling. In every case where a magistrate is handling there is an actual judge assigned to the case, even though you rarely have dealt with the judge. However, when a final ruling is issued on the case, it must come from the judge assigned from the case and not the magistrate and this is just how the procedure works. See: which are the local rules and look under "Magistrates." The ruling you have is proper.
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