11th Cir. Is Super Busy, Super Quick: Judiciary Report

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on March 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Eleventh Circuit is one of the busiest and quickest federal appeals courts in the nation, according to a recently released "Judicial Caseload Profile" of the court released by the judiciary.

The report presents statistics on the work of the Federal Judiciary for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, comparing data for this year to data for prior years.

Keeping Busy

Overall, filings in the 12 federal courts of appeals, which had risen 4 percent in 2012, dropped 2 percent to 56,475 in 2013. Decreases occurred in filings of criminal appeals, appeals of administrative agency decisions, and civil appeals. Growth was reported for prisoner petitions, bankruptcy appeals, and original proceedings.

Filings in the Eleventh Circuit were down by 9 percent, the steepest drop in the country. And yet the Eleventh Circuit remains remarkably busy. With 6,366 new cases filed last year, the Eleventh Circuit is the third busiest federal appeals court -- busy to a fault, in fact. It trailed behind only the Fifth and Ninth Circuits.

In addition, the Eleventh Circuit reigns supreme in expeditious case disposal. With 1,717 cases disposed of per panel, there were more cases filed, and more appeals disposed of, by each of the court's three-member panels than in any of the other regional courts of appeals, according to a report released earlier by the judiciary. And that doesn't even take into account the Eleventh Circuit's vacancies during that time period (with which the court is still struggling).

But don't assume those case dumps make life for the three-member panels a walk in the park. According to the data, Eleventh Circuit panels had the third-highest number of pending appeals before each panel last year, totaling 838 cases per panel.

Keeping Quick

Though on a day-to-day basis practioners might feel otherwise, the Eleventh Circuit actually disposes of cases pretty quickly.

On the national level, the median processing time for cases decided on the merits by a federal appeals court is 9 months. But the Eleventh Circuit's median processing time is 7.6 months -- from the filing of the notice of appeal or docketing date to the last opinion or final order -- making it the fourth quickest federal appeals court.

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