Federal judge is tossed from two cases for repeated failure to rule on pending motions

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A federal appeals court has removed a Mississippi federal judge from two cases because of repeated delays in ruling on motions.

In the first case, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals removed U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate from a civil suit filed against an electric utility by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, the Clarion-Ledger reports. The 5th Circuit issued its order granting Hood’s mandamus petition on Sept. 29.

Hood had told the 5th Circuit that a motion for judgment on the pleadings had been pending for more than seven years. Hood’s 2008 suit against Entergy Corp. had accused the utility of illegally manipulating the purchase and sale of electricity.

In the second case, the 5th Circuit ordered the transfer of another case from Wingate last month, then denied the judge’s request to allow him to keep the case, the Clarion-Ledger reports in another story.

That case was also filed by the state of Mississippi. The defendants, executives and an investor with a Texas company called KiOR, were accused of obtaining a state loan by misrepresenting the capabilities of technology that would produce oil from biomass.

Wingate had told the court he would rule on outstanding motions in three days if he could keep the case. In a court filing, Hood opposed Wingate’s request. “This is an unfortunate pattern in Judge Wingate’s court,” Hood wrote. “Indeed, it was only after a mandamus petition had been filed that the district court took any action. This is not the first time such inexcusable delays have occurred in that court.”

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