|(28 Feb 2019)
Nationally, there were 315,523 civil cases awaiting resolution before U.S. district court judges at the end of calendar year 2018.
All of the "top ten" judges in the country with the most pending cases are currently handling significant multidistrict litigation. MDL dockets are usually complex litigation involving plaintiffs with common issues that are consolidated before a single judge. MDL litigation now accounts for just under half of the total pending civil caseload in the federal district courts.
MDL lawsuits also often make news, such as litigation involving concussions suffered by athletes in sports leagues, national prescription opiate litigation, or data security breaches at Equifax, Yahoo, Zippos, Target and other companies.
The judge with the most pending cases in the nation at the end of calendar 2018 was Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). With 23,942 pending cases, he is handling two large product liability MDL cases, and recently closed a third.
MDL cases do not arise in every type of litigation. After product liability cases, prisoner petitions are the second largest component of the pending caseload, followed by civil rights litigation. None of this pending litigation involves MDL. First in the nation for handling the largest number of prisoner suits (417) is District Court Judge Ron Clark from the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler). Eighty-one percent of his currently pending caseload are prisoner petitions.
Judge Edgardo Ramos in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) had the largest civil rights caseload (172 cases) in the country, and some of these take years to close. The longest pending civil rights case on his docket had been filed back in 2009 and as of the end of last year had been pending 3,429 days.
These and many other details on the civil workloads by nature of suit of each federal district court judge covering 2018 is available without charge in TRAC's Judge Information Center. The findings cover all active judges as well as senior judges who had retired from the bench but still heard cases. More detailed reports on each judge are also available on a subscription basis.
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