Arizona is trying for a second time to get a judge removed from overseeing a settlement that requires the state to improve health care for its 34,000 prisoners.
The request was made as U.S. Magistrate Judge David Duncan considers whether to hold Corrections Director Charles Ryan in contempt of court for failing to adequately improve inmate care.
Lawyers for the prisoners said Tuesday that the request is aimed at derailing the upcoming contempt ruling.
They say the state agreed more than three years ago to have Duncan preside over the case.
This isn't the state's first attempt to have Duncan thrown off the case.
Earlier this year, the state argued unsuccessfully that Duncan should disqualify himself from the case because he was biased.