September 24, 1992
Note: Please see Opinion 15-155, which modifies the present opinion with respect to disclosure.
Digest: A judge need not recuse himself or herself in a class action settlement, where the judge’s mother owns less than .001 percent of the outstanding stock in one of the parties.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3(c)(iv)(b).
A judge, who is presiding over the settlement of a class action suit, asks whether recusal is necessary, as the judge’s mother owns less than 1/1000th of 1% of the outstanding stock of one of the large corporate parties in the action.
Section 100.3(c)(iv)(b) requires that a judge disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding where a close relative, including a parent, “is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding.” Here, the judge need not recuse himself or herself as the mother’s interest in the matter is not substantial. The judge, however, should disclose the mother’s stock ownership to all the parties involved.