United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania is a United States district court composed of ten judges as authorized by federal law. Chief Judge Sean McLaughlin presides over the court's administration and operations.
Vacancy warning level
The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania's vacancy warning level is currently set at orange. The court currently has three vacancies.
The Western District of Pennsylvania has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
|Federal Court Case Load Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases:||Median time(Criminal)**:||Median time(Civil)**:||3 Year Civil cases#:||Vacant posts:##||Trials/Post|
|*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.
The Western District of Pennsylvania has three separate divisions. The official clerk of court is Robert V. Barth, Jr.. Offices are open 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday - Friday excluding federal holidays. Please consult the chart below for more information:
|Branch||Location Address||Mailing Address||Phone number|
|Erie Division||U.S. Courthouse
17 South Park Row Erie, PA 16501
PO Box 1820 Erie, PA 16507
|Johnstown Division||208 Penn Traffic Building
319 Washington Street Johnstown, PA 15901
|Pittsburgh Division||U.S. Courthouse
700 Grant Street Pittsburgh, PA 15219
PO Box 1805 Pittsburgh, PA 15230
The District of Pennsylvania was established by Congress on September 24, 1789 with one post to cover the entire state. On April 20, 1818 Congress divided the district into the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Western District of Pennsylvania with one post each. On March 2, 1901, Congress again redefined the boundaries of the district, transitioning a portion of both districts to the newly formed Middle District of Pennsylvania. Over time 9 additional judicial posts were added to the Western District of Pennsylvania for a total of 10 current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Western District of Virginia:
|September 24, 1789||1 Stat. 73||1 (Whole state)|
|April 20, 1818||3 Stat. 462||1|
|February 26, 1909||35 Stat. 656||2|
|September 14, 1922||42 Stat. 837||3(1 permanent)|
|August 19, 1935||49 Stat. 659||3|
|July 24, 1946||60 Stat. 654||4(1 shared temporary)|
|August 3, 1949||63 Stat. 493||5(1 shared temporary, 1 temporary)|
|February 10, 1954||68 Stat. 8||7(1 shared temporary, 1 temporary)|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||8|
|June 2, 1970||84 Stat. 294||10|
This page is missing notable case information.
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions of the Western District of Pennsylvania.
There are three federal courthouses that serve the Western District of Pennsylvania.
For new stories and other related material see Pennsylvania judicial news.
- Official site
- Judges of the Western District of Pennsylvania-Pittsburgh Division
- Judges of the Western District of Pennsylvania-Erie Division
- Judges of the Western District of Pennsylvania-Johnstown Division
- US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- Opinions of the Western District of Pennsylvania
|2.1 Active Judges|
|2.1.1 Article III judges|
|2.1.2 Pending appointments|
|2.1.3 Senior judges|
|2.2 Past judges|
|2.2.1 Former Chief judges|
|2.2.2 Former judges|
Article III judgesThe United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has 10 posts. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Judge Nora Fischer||1951||Homestead, PA||W. Bush||04/02/2007 - Present||Robert Cindrich||St. Mary's College, B.A., 1973||Notre Dame Law, J.D., 1976|
|Judge Arthur Schwab||1946||Pittsburgh, PA||W. Bush||09/17/2002 - Present||Maurice Cohill, Jr.||Grove City College, Pennsylvania, A.B., 1968||U. of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1972|
|Judge David Cercone||1952||Pittsburgh, PA||W. Bush||08/02/2002 - Present||Donald Lee||Westminster College, B.A., 1974||Duquesne U. Law, J.D., 1977|
|Judge Kim Gibson||1948||Trenton, NJ||W. Bush||09/24/2003 - Present||Brooks Smith||United States Military Academy, West Point, B.S., 1970||Dickinson School of Law, J.D., 1975|
|Chief Judge Joy Conti||1948||Kane, PA||W. Bush||07/31/2002 - Present||8/17/2013-Present||Alan Bloch||Duquesne U., B.A., 1970||Duquesne U. Law, J.D., 1973|
|Judge Cathy Bissoon||1968||Brooklyn, NY||Obama||10/17/2011 - Present||Thomas Hardiman||Alfred U., B.A., 1990||Harvard Law, J.D., 1993|
|Judge Mark Raymond Hornak||1956||Homestead, PA||Obama||10/19/2011 - Present||Donetta Ambrose||U. of Pittsburgh '78||U. of Pittsburgh Law '81|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has 7 judges on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|Senior Judge Donetta Ambrose||Clinton||11/24/1993 - 11/04/2010||2002 - 2009||11/05/2010 - Present||Duquesne U., B.A., 1967||Duquesne U. Law, J.D., 1970|
|Senior Judge Alan Bloch||Carter||11/02/1979 - 04/11/1997||04/12/1997 - Present||U. of Pennsylvania, B.S., 1953||U. of Pittsburgh Law, J.D., 1958|
|Senior Judge Maurice Cohill||Ford||05/21/1976 - 11/27/1994||1985 - 1992||11/28/1994 - Present||Princeton, A.B., 1951||U. of Pittsburgh Law, LL.B., 1956|
|Senior Judge Gustave Diamond||Carter||05/02/1978 - 01/30/1994||1992 - 1994||01/31/1994 - Present||Duke U., A.B., 1951||Duquesne U. Law, J.D., 1956|
|Senior Judge William Standish||Reagan||11/06/1987 - 02/28/2002||03/01/2002 - Present||Yale, B.A., 1953||U. of Virginia School of Law, LL.B., 1956|
|Judge Terrence McVerry||W. Bush||09/04/2002 - 09/30/2013||10/1/2013 - Present||Duquesne U., B.A., 1965||Duquesne U. Law, J.D., 1968|
|Senior Judge Paul Simmons||Carter||04/07/1978 - 05/31/1990||06/01/1990 - Present||U. of Pittsburgh, B.A., 1946||Harvard Law , J.D., 1949|
|Magistrate Judge Keith Pesto||03/01/1994 - Present||Johns Hopkins U., B.A., 1980||U. of Pennsylvania Law, J.D., 1983|
|Magistrate Judge (Recalled) Robert Mitchell||1975 - 2005||Dartmouth College, A.B., 1962||U. of Pittsburgh Law, J.D., 1967|
|Chief Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan||04/02/2004 - Present||U. of Pittsburgh, 1980||U. of Pittsburgh Law, J.D., 1983|
|Magistrate Judge Susan Baxter||01/20/1995 - Present||Pennsylvania State U., B.S., 1978||Temple U. Law, J.D., 1983|
|Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly||06/13/2011 - Present||Notre Dame||Duquesne U. Law|
|Magistrate Judge Cynthia Eddy||Current|
Former Chief judges
|Donald Ziegler||1994 - 2001|
|Gerald Weber||1976 - 1982|
|Hubert Teitelbaum||1982 - 1985|
|Herbert Sorg||1975 - 1976|
|Rabe Marsh||1969 - 1975|
|Wallace Gourley||1951 - 1969|
|Nelson McVicar||1949 - 1951|
|Gary Lancaster||2009 - 2013|
|Gustave Diamond||1992 - 1994|
|Maurice Cohill||1985 - 1992|
|Donetta Ambrose||2002 - 2009|
|Robert Murray Gibson||1948 - 1949|
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. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.
These rules for Chief Judges in the federal judiciary have been in effect since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948. Until August 6, 1959, the position was filled in each federal court by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.
|Seat 1||Seat 2||Seat 3|
|Seat 4||Seat 5||Seat 6|
|There are no current judges in this category.|
|Seat 7||Seat 8||Seat 9|
|Magistrate judges||Keith Pesto • Robert Mitchell • Lisa Lenihan • Susan Baxter • Maureen Kelly • Cynthia Eddy •|
|Former Article III judges||
William Knox • Jonathan Hoge Walker • William Wilkins • Thomas Irwin • Wilson McCandless • Winthrop Welles Ketcham • Marcus Wilson Acheson • Joseph Weis • Brooks Smith • Thomas Hardiman • Joseph Buffington • Timothy Lewis • James Hay Reed • Nathaniel Ewing • James Scott Young • Charles Prentiss Orr • W. H. Seward Thomson • Robert Murray Gibson • Gary Lancaster • Sean McLaughlin • Frederic Palen Schoonmaker • Nelson McVicar • Frederick Follmer • Carol Mansmann • Owen Burns • Robert Cindrich • Edward Dumbauld • Wallace Gourley • Rabe Marsh • Barron McCune • John McIlvaine • Glenn Mencer • John Lester Miller • Louis Rosenberg • Ralph Scalera • Daniel Snyder • Herbert Sorg • William Stewart • Hubert Teitelbaum • Gerald Weber • Joseph Willson • Donald Ziegler • Donald Lee •
|Former Chief judges||
Robert Murray Gibson • Donetta Ambrose • Maurice Cohill • Gustave Diamond • Gary Lancaster • Nelson McVicar • Wallace Gourley • Rabe Marsh • Herbert Sorg • Hubert Teitelbaum • Gerald Weber • Donald Ziegler •