Tag Archives: Statistics

Appellate Courts and Caseload Pressure

An interesting paper has been making the rounds discussing how appellate courts react to caseload pressure.  After September 11, 2001, the Second and Ninth Circuits had a large influx of immigration appeals that affect the other circuits, and the paper uses this as a “natural experiment.”   In his paper, Mr. Shay Lavie characterizes the Second Circuit … Continue Reading

A Review of Judicial Vacancies

While all eyes are currently on a vacancy at the Supreme Court, we should not overlook circuit-level vacancies.  Not including senior judges, the Sixth Circuit has positions for 16 judges, but with one vacancy, only has 15 active judges. The vacancy, created when Judge Martin retired on August 16, 2013, has existed on the court … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Oral Argument Statistics

In the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, the Sixth Circuit terminated 4,858 cases. Of the total cases terminated, 3,515 were terminated on the merits, meaning that they were terminated either through consolidation with another case, after the submission of the parties’ briefs, or after oral argument. A review of the judicial statistics surrounding the … Continue Reading

Daubert in the Sixth Circuit

In February of 2014, we posted an analysis of the Sixth Circuit’s dealings with Daubert claims dating back to 2010. Over that four year period, the Sixth Circuit reversed fives cases on the basis of the district court’s application of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. In four of the five reversed cases, the Sixth Circuit … Continue Reading

Visiting Judges in the Sixth Circuit

On more than one occasion, we have discussed the Sixth Circuits use of visiting judges. Specifically, we have noted the Sixth Circuit’s heavy reliance on visiting judges. While the Sixth Circuit’s use has decreased, the percentage of cases heard by visiting judges continues to exceed almost all other circuit courts. In the review of case … Continue Reading

The Sixth Circuit and Pro Se Appellants in FY 2014

Just over half—51%—of appeals nationwide are commenced by pro se appellants, and last year, we endeavored to see how these pro se appellants fared in the Sixth Circuit. This year’s official federal court statistics give further insight into the Circuit’s overall pro se caseload. The Sixth Circuit slightly outpaced the national trend with a pro … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Is on Middle Ground for Unpublished Opinions

Recently released federal court statistics for FY 2013-2014 revealed a number of interesting points about the circuits’ varying publication tendencies, and couple of interesting points about the Sixth Circuit in particular. We have previously covered the Sixth Circuit’s tendency to follow national appellate statistical trends, and this year was no exception. The Circuit was solidly … Continue Reading

Are Unpublished Cases Precedential? The Citation of Unpublished Cases In Sixth Circuit Decisions

In a previous post, we looked at how often various circuits issue unpublished opinions and the differences between their rules on published decisions.  The Sixth Circuit’s most recent directive is that “[u]npublished decisions in the Sixth Circuit are, of course, not binding precedent on subsequent panels, but their reasoning may be ‘instructive’ or helpful.”  Crump v. … Continue Reading

The Trend Toward The Use of Summary Dispositions

We have previously reported on the Sixth Circuit’s caseload and the trend toward the use of unpublished opinions.  We’ve discussed that the number of published decisions per judge, the opinions that are the most important to create precedent, are fairly consistent throughout all circuits.  But the latest statistics show an interesting trend toward the use … Continue Reading

Predicting Outcomes Based On Questioning at Oral Argument

In connection with the Supreme Court’s health care decision, many commentators doubted whether judges’ questioning at oral argument can be used to predict outcomes.  Yet recent research has shown that the emotional content of a judge’s questions does predict voting patterns at the Supreme Court.  We applied this research to the Sixth Circuit by looking … Continue Reading

An Empirical Look At The Sixth Circuit’s Acceptance (and Rejection) Of Amicus Briefs

We have previously reported on the Sixth Circuit’s affirmation of a class certification decision in In re Whirlpool Corporation Front-Loading Washing Products Liability Litigation, which involved washing machines that allegedly were susceptible to mold and mildew.   We also reported on Whirlpool’s en banc petition, and the five amicus parties that supported the petition.  The Court … Continue Reading

How Important Are Standards of Review?

Appellate lawyers think about arguments in terms of the applicable standard of review, as that is the lens the court will use to evaluate an appeal.  There are four main standards of review:   Under “de novo” review, an appellate court decides an appeal without any deference to the lower court’s decision.   Review for “clear error” … Continue Reading

What to Expect During Oral Argument

Last August, we discussed recent procedural changes surrounding oral argument in the Sixth Circuit. In an effort to shed more light on the topic of oral argument in the Sixth Circuit in general, we recently observed three days of oral argument. We attended 18 oral arguments presented before various panels that, taken together, were composed … Continue Reading

Consistency In Each District’s Reversal Rate – And Variations In The Reversal Rates For Individual Judges

In a prior post, we found that the Sixth Circuit reverses each federal district court at significantly different rates in civil (including prisoner) cases.  The results were so surprising – cases originating in some districts were almost twice as likely to be reversed as cases from other districts – that we decided to run the … Continue Reading

Reversal Rates In The Sixth Circuit Vary Significantly By District

We have previously addressed the Sixth Circuit’s reversal rate, and found that the circuit reverses at a rate very close to the average for all of the circuits.  This post will briefly review the reversal rates in civil (including prisoner) cases from each federal district court within the Sixth Circuit.   In the past two years, the Sixth Circuit … Continue Reading

Visiting Judges At The Sixth Circuit: Who Are They?

Last week, we explored the potential impact of visiting judges on Sixth Circuit precedent.  In this post, we will take a quick look at who the visiting judges are.  The answer is that visiting judges are overwhelmingly from the nine federal districts courts encompassed by the Sixth Circuit.  Over the past two years, fifty-four visiting judges … Continue Reading

Visiting Judges on the Sixth Circuit May Impact Circuit Precedent Less Than Commonly Believed

This post continues our look at the Sixth Circuit’s practice of using visiting judges.  We looked at the past two years (ending in July 2011) and found that 54 visiting judges took part in over nine hundred decisions available on Lexis.  Consistent with what we reported earlier (here and here), visiting judges participate in just … Continue Reading

Case Management In the Sixth Circuit: Comparisons In The Use of Visiting Judges

Continuing our exploration of case management practices in the Sixth Circuit, this post compares the Sixth Circuit’s use of visiting judges with that of other circuits and weighs the potential for impact of the visits on the circuit’s procedures.   We have previously explained how visiting judges handle a large portion of the Sixth Circuit’s caseload … Continue Reading
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