In a motion filed yesterday, former Olympic skater Oksana Baiul moved Judge Forrest to recuse herself from Baiul’s case against numerous sports agents and television studios, alleging a lack of impartiality due to Judge Forrest’s past representation of certain parties and affiliated entities during her time as a partner at Cravath. This is Baiul’s latest effort to overcome seemingly long odds in her quest to recover money allegedly owed to her over decades of skating, having brought claims that Judge Forrest described in a prior ruling as “frivolous” and “bizarre.” In her motion, Baiul cites seven matters from 2000 to 2010 in which Judge Forrest represented entities, including Time Warner Cable and NBC Studios, that Baiul claims are parties or affiliates of parties. As a result, she claims, it may be that Judge Forrest’s partiality has been compromised, drawing a comparison to a prisoner siding with his captor:
While certainly not an adequate comparison, it is interesting to note that the Stockholm Syndrome has been evidenced to appear after only 131 hours of captivity. Of course the Studios did not hold the Court in captivity but the Court did spend many years, countless hours and considerable effort fighting the Studios’ battles. An attorney’s ethical duty of loyalty alone, when viewed in conjunction with the approximately 10 years of continual representation of the Studios by the Court, would surely cause a reasonable person to question this Court’s impartiality and the potential for bias against the opponents of the Studios (such as Plaintiffs) for quite some time.
Baiul also cites Judge Forrest’s deferred compensation from Cravath and the Senate Questionnaire she filled out before being confirmed as a federal judge in 2011 to argue that she should recuse herself from any matter involving Time Warner for a period of 10 years after her representation of that company ended. Baiul requested that the Court vacate all prior orders and judgments in the litigation, which she claims “are unnecessarily emotional, linked to one another and are contrary to the authorities and facts.”