Riser files motion for recusal of judge

Former WSU employee claims Rice showed bias, harmed lawsuit

IAN SMAY, Evergreen news editor

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Darryl Riser, the former WSU employee suing the university for allegedly firing him in retaliation for whistleblowing on ethics violations, has filed a motion calling for presiding Judge Thomas Rice to recuse himself and appoint another judge to the case.

The motion, filed last week, states “[Riser] has no confidence that he will receive an ‘impartial’ ruling as long as Judge Thomas O. Rice presides.”

If Rice declines to recuse himself, Riser will file a judicial misconduct complaint against the judge, according to court documents.

Riser did not comment further on the recusal motion.

The motion stems from claims of “inappropriate references” in Rice’s previous ruling to dismiss the claims against three of the defendants from the original suit, including WSU President Kirk Schulz. Riser states in his motion the use of the phrase “in forma pauperis,” which indicates the person filing the motion does not have the funds to pursue a normal lawsuit, mischaracterized him as a prisoner.

Rice also allegedly verbally attacked Riser, saying his lawsuit has “no standing” and is “frivolous,” according to court documents. Riser also claims Rice said he was partial to “the Assistant Attorney General’s representations.”

Riser also cites Rice’s decision to drop the claims against the three defendants if Riser does not resubmit with cause within 60 days, stating Rice’s opinion on the matter included with the ruling showed prejudice against Riser, according to court documents.

The decision for recusal is to be considered on Wednesday, according to court documents.