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9th Circuit Rules On Burning Man, Slaps Judge In Reno Again

Brad Horn / AP

A an aerial view of the center camp in Black Rock City is seen during the Burning Man festival near Gerlach, Nev., on Friday, Aug. 29, 2008.

Brad Horn / AP

(AP) — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned another ruling by the same federal judge in Nevada, criticizing his unorthodox handling of a Burning Man lawsuit and ordering him off a case for the sixth time in four years.

The appellate court ruled Wednesday that U.S District Judge Robert Jones had no legal basis to reject a deal lawyers for Burning Man and Pershing County reached in 2013 to settle a dispute over security costs and First Amendment rights at the counter-culture celebration.

The panel said Jones — who recently shifted to senior status — inappropriately mocked the lawyers during a Reno hearing, accusing them of malpractice and suggesting one should return to law school.

Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas says it's unfortunate that once again one of Jones' cases must be reassigned to a different judge.