United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

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Eastern District of Louisiana
Fifth Circuit
Judges: 12
Posts: 12
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Sarah Vance
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is a federal trial court based in New Orleans. It is one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown New Orleans at the John Minor Wisdom Federal Courthouse.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Kenneth A. Polite.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Helen Berrigan1948New Rochelle, NYClinton 03/10/1994-Present2001-2008Patrick CarrUniversity of Wisconsin, B.A., 1969Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1977
Judge Martin Feldman1934St. Louis, MOReagan 10/5/1983-PresentJack GordonTulane University, 1955Tulane Law School, 1957
Chief Judge Sarah Vance1950Donaldsonville, LAClinton 09/29/1994 - Present2008 - PresentHenry MentzLouisiana State U., B.A., 1971Tulane Law School, J.D., 1978
Judge Eldon Fallon1939New Orleans, LAClinton 5/10/1995 -Present'Adrian DuplantierTulane U., B.A., 1959Tulane Law, J.D., 1962
Judge Ivan Lemelle1950Opelousas, LAClinton 04/7/1998 - PresentVeronica WickerXavier U., B.S., 1971Loyola Law, J.D., 1974
Judge Carl Barbier1944New Orleans, LAClinton 10/01/1998 - PresentOkla JonesSoutheastern Louisiana U., B.A., 1966Loyola Law, J.D., 1970
Judge Kurt Engelhardt1960New Orleans, LAW. Bush 12/13/2001 - PresentMorey SearLouisiana State U., B.A., 1982Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1985
Judge Jay Zainey1951New Orleans, LAW. Bush 02/14/2002 - PresentA.J. McNamaraUniversity of New Orleans, B.S., 1972Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1975
Judge Lance Africk1951New York, NYW. Bush 04/17/2002 - PresentEdith ClementUniversity of North Carolina, B.A., 1973University of North Carolina Law, J.D., 1975
Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo1957Napoleonville, LAObama 10/11/2011 - PresentMary Ann LemmonNicholls State U., B.A., 1977Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1992
Judge Nannette Jolivette-Brown1963Lafayette, LAObama 10/3/2011 - PresentStanwood DuvalUniversity of Southwestern Louisiana, B.A., 1985Tulane Law School, J.D., 1988
Judge Susie Morgan1953Winnsboro, LAObama 3/28/2012 - PresentUniversity of Louisiana, Monroe, B.A., 1974Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1980

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Stanwood DuvalClinton 9/29/1994 - 12/14/200812/15/2008 - PresentLouisiana State U., B.A., 1964Louisiana State U. Law, LL.B., 1966
Senior Judge A.J. McNamaraReagan 06/21/1982 - 06/08/20011999 - 200106/09/2001 - PresentLouisiana State U., B.S., 1959Loyola Law, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Mary Ann LemmonClinton 07/25/1996 - 12/31/201001/01/2011 - PresentLoyola U.Loyola Law, J.D., 1964
Senior Judge Peter BeerCarter 11/27/1979 - 04/11/199404/12/1994 - PresentTulane U., B.B.A., 1949Tulane Law School, LL.B., 1952

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles01/06/2003 - Present
Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby02/22/1999 - PresentXavier U., B.S., 1983Tulane Law, J.D., 1987
Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson
Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan
Magistrate Judge Michael B. North3/1/2014-PresentLouisiana State U.Tulane Law, J.D.


The Parishes of the Eastern District of Louisiana (click for larger map)

The Eastern District of Louisiana has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law. Like all U.S. district courts, the court has original jurisdiction over civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States;[2] certain civil actions between citizens of different states;[3] civil actions within the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of the United States;[4] criminal prosecutions brought by the United States; and many other types of cases and controversies.[5] It also has appellate jurisdiction over a very limited class of judgments, orders, and decrees.[6]

The geographic jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Louisiana consists of all the following parishes in the eastern part of the state of Louisiana.[7]




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 76766958146344180 1045410.611.91210 (16.5%)0.011
2012 85873475120624336 772610.312.92120 (29.0%)6.38
2011 108954175150706464 86069.622.71061 (13.0%)30.612
2010 1523960152125410264 109908.233.23283 (31.4%)1212
2009 158257803236288299 153299.613.26084 (41.1%)9.514
2008 165688860254289811 156178.28.82065 (13.4%)014
20071223811086233246745165799.17.9374 (2.3%)012
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions of the Eastern District of Louisiana.


Court history

Federal courts in Lousiana were established by Congress on March 26, 1804, with one post to cover the territory of Orleans. This was the one and only time that Congress granted a district court with the same jurisdiction as the state courts to a territory. On March 3, 1823, Congress divided the district into the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Western District of Louisiana. On February 13, 1845, Congress consolidated the districts into one district, with one post over the entire state. On March 3, 1849, Congress again divided the district into the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Western District of Louisiana only to reunite it into one district again on July 27, 1866. Finally, Congress divided the district for the last time on March 3, 1881. Then on December 18, 1971, Congress split the Middle District of Louisiana from the two existing districts, resulting in the current jurisdictions. Over time six additional judicial posts were added to the Western District of Louisiana for a total of seven posts.[27]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eastern District of Louisiana:[27]

Year Statute Total Seats
March 26, 1804 2 Stat. 283 1(Whole State)
March 3, 1823 3 Stat. 774 1(1 shared)
February 13, 1845 5 Stat. 722 1(Whole State)
March 3, 1849 9 Stat. 401 1
July 27, 1866 14 Stat. 300 1(Whole state)
March 3, 1881 21 Stat. 507 1
March 18, 1938 52 Stat. 110 2
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 4
March 18, 1966 80 Stat. 75 8
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 10
December 18, 1971 85 Stat. 741 9
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 13
October 6, 1997 111 Stat. 1173 12

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[28][29]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the Eastern District of Louisiana, see former federal judges of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Federal courthouse

The Eastern District of Louisiana has only one federal courthouse.

See also

External links


  1. Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
  2. Legal Information Institute, 28 U.S.C. § 1331
  3. Legal Information Institute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332
  4. Legal Information Institute, 28 U.S.C. § 1333
  5. Legal Information Institute, Title 28, United States Code, Chapter 85
  6. Under Legal Information Institute, 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), for example, the U.S. district courts are authorized to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and decrees of U.S. bankruptcy judges.
  7. Cornell Law School, 28 U.S.C. § 98(a)
  8. Businessweek, "New Orleans judge to handle most Gulf spill suits," August 10, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 Bloomberg, "BP Gulf Oil Spill Approves $7.8 Billion Settlement," December 22, 2012
  10. Times-Picayune, "BP can't see documents of claims investigation, judge rules," February 28, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Advocate, "Ex-Mayor Ray Nagin convicted on 20 charges," February 16, 2014
  12. Federal Bureau of Investigation, "C. Ray Nagin, Former New Orleans Mayor, Indicted on Federal Bribery, Honest Services Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, Conspiracy, and Tax Charges," January 18, 2013
  13. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, "C. Ray Nagin, Former New Orleans Mayor, Convicted on Federal Bribery, Honest Services Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, Conspiracy, and Tax Charges," February 12, 2014
  14. Times Picayune, "Judge grants new trial for ex-New Orleans police officers convicted in notorious Danziger Bridge slayings after Hurricane Katrina," September 17, 2013
  15. Main Justice, "Judge Blasts 'Grotesque Prosecutorial Misconduct' in Tossing Danziger Bridge Case," September 17, 2013
  16. Gant Daily, "Plenty of Misconduct, 129 Pages of One Judge’s Disbelief," September 20, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 Daily Business Review, "Federal Judge Puts Chinese Drywall Cases on 'Rocket Docket," August 11, 2009
  18. Reuters, "Federal Judge Announces Breakthrough Agreement in Chinese Drywall Litigation," November 3, 2009
  19. Bloomberg, "Judge Awards $2.6 Million in Chinese Drywall Suit," April 8, 2010
  20. Herald-Tribune, "New Orleans federal judge finds for drywall victims," April 27, 2010
  21. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, "MDL NO. 2047," December 21, 2011
  22. Insurance Journal, "Judge Urged to Approve Chinese Drywall Settlements," November 15, 2012
  23. WWL-TV, "Judge OKs hospital projects in New Orleans," March 31, 2010
  24. NOLA.com, "Clipper Estates lawsuit dismissed by federal judge," September 14, 2009
  25. Joffroin v. Tufaro, "606 F. 3d 235 - Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit 2010," May 11, 2010
  26. NOLA.com, "Federal judge takes harsh line in sentencing Road Home thief," October 7, 2009
  27. 27.0 27.1 History of the Districts of Louisiana on the Federal Judicial Center website
  28. United States Courts, Frequently Asked Questions
  29. United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009

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