Civil Caseloads Vary Markedly for Federal Judges
(14 Mar 2018) The latest available data show that for the year ending December 2017, twelve United States district judges each closed more than a thousand civil cases. Seventeen judges ended the year with a thousand or more pending civil cases. In contrast, the typical active federal district court judge closed around 250 cases this past year, and had 268 pending cases.

United States District Judge Joseph Robert Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston) closed the most cases in the nation last year - a record 40,584. This extraordinarily high workload arose because he is handling seven multidistrict litigation matters. Here similar cases from more than one district are bundled together and a single judge rules on the common questions of law embedded in the cases.

While multidistrict litigation is the most common reason judges appeared in the top ranks, occasionally other factors led to unusually high caseloads. For example, U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in the District of New Jersey (Camden) closed the third largest total of civil cases (1,698). Almost nine out of ten were prisoner petitions. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) also handled many prisoner petitions and closed 1,147 cases last year. In contrast, U.S. District Judge James Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall) closed 1,095 cases but he specialized in handling property rights cases.

This new analysis about the varying civil workloads covers 1,037 federal district court regular and senior judges. Information is available not only on each judge's overall caseload, but by type of suit. Based on extensive internal government data as well as court records, the research was carried out by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.

To view a listing providing info on the current civil workload for each judge in all 94 federal judicial districts, go to TRAC's Judge Information Center at:

To view additional findings from this research, view the full report at:

Subscribers to the Judge Information Center also have access to extensive and very timely judge-by-judge reports that compare the time individual judges take to dispose of cases, as well as how long their pending caseload has been waiting resolution.

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