The Sixth Circuit has been slowly moving up the rankings for the time it takes to decide an appeal. A decade ago, the Sixth and Ninth Circuits took the longest time to each a decision. But while the Ninth Circuit remains slow (at 13.2 months), the latest statistics Sixth Circuit is now the third-fastest circuit, averaging 8.5 months between the notice of appeal and resolution. The only faster circuits are the Fourth Circuit at 7.9 months, and the Eighth Circuit, which decides cases in just 4.6 months.
Note, though, that those numbers can be misleading. They include appeals that are dismissed lack of jurisdiction, on procedural niceties, and for lack of prosecution. It also includes cases that do not go to oral argument. For example, while the 8th Circuit’s average for all cases in 4.6 months, the circuit also averages 4.5 months between briefing and oral argument, and then another 3.9 months from oral argument to a decision. As a result, while the Eighth Circuit is extremely effective in disposing of simple appeals, it actually takes longer to decide complicated appeals than does the Sixth Circuit. If you have a complex commercial, personal injury, or constitutional appeal, our experience in the Sixth Circuit is that the time for the appeal will often be about 16 or 17 months. That accounts for ordering transcripts, extensions for briefs, oral argument, and the wait for a decision.