Billy Roy Wilson of the Eastern District of Arkansas closed 3,008 civil cases in the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2014 — more than any other federal district court judge in the country — according to the latest data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University.
On Wilson’s heels for the most closed cases are three other judges handling multidistrict litigation: Alabama North’s Inge P. Johnson (2,619 closures), Illinois South’s David R. Herndon (2,307) and Minnesota’s John R. Tunheim (1,878).
Excluding the judges who were assigned large numbers of cases as the result of MDL bundling, Arizona District Chief Judge Raner C. Collins closed the most cases (1,368) in the year ending June 30. Part of the reason for Collins’ productivity may be related to the type of case Collins tends to hear — 95.2 percent of the cases he closed were prisoner petitions. That is a significantly higher mix than the average judge in his district (69.3%) and in the country, for whom about a quarter (23.4%) of closed cases comprise prisoner petitions.
Collins said that the bulk of the cases were filed by a single prisoner in Arizona:
“My closings look more impressive than they should as most of them come from one prisoner who filed more than 2,000 cases by himself,” Collins said. “I had an excellent pro se law clerk who helped process those cases. So regardless of the numbers, I do not believe I am the hardest working judge in the country. I am sure I am not.”