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 in the middle of the pack on most appellate metrics, ranking 7th among the circuit courts as far as most published opinions at 261, and 5th for its percentage of unpublished opinions, with almost 92% of the court’s opinions issued unpublished. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Seventh Circuit issued the most published opinions—635, with only 63.4% of its opinions unpublished. The Third Circuit issued the most unpublished opinions
The Sixth Circuit also ranked 5th in terms of overall cases terminated (3,460). Year-over-year, the federal appellate caseload declined by 0.5%, and new cases filed decreased by 2.6%. These figures indicate a consistent, albeit slow reduction in the federal appellate caseload, down overall by 27.3% since 2005. The Sixth Circuit also followed this trend in FY 2014, with a 2.1% decrease in pending cases. Here again, however, the Sixth Circuit was near the median: by contrast, the Ninth Circuit decreased its caseload by just over 3%, and the Third Circuit experienced a 4.3% increase in its caseload.