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In filing a hypothetical federal civil case, it seems like some forum shopping may be possible. Might one of the reasons to select a particular court be to seek a speedier or slower trial?

How would one find out which federal courts have the shortest and longest delays?

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    This also depends on what kind of filing attitude the lawyers show: if the lawyers file accusations and memoranda against one another, it might flush you to the top of the Judges list to get rid of the case on any ground - especially jurisdiction.#
    – Trish
    Jul 30 at 10:10
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You would probably want to start with the Administrative Office's case-management statistics. I haven't been in there in a while, but I believe they'll have the data you're looking for.

Note, though, that even if you can figure out which districts are fastest and slowest, it's still going to be a crapshoot, as there are going to be several judges in most districts, and there's basically no way of controlling which one you get; in my home district, for instance, we have a judge who we expect to do basically nothing with new cases for close to a year, another judge who we know will put us on a "rocket docket," and plenty more at different points along that spectrum.

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  • Those case-managment statistics seem to have exactly the sort of information I was looking for. Thank you. Aug 1 at 15:18
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In filing a hypothetical federal civil case, it seems like some forum shopping may be possible. Might one of the reasons to select a particular court be to seek a speedier or slower trial?

When more than one forum is possible, this is routinely a consideration. But, most of the the forum shopping between forums is between filing in federal court (which is usually slower) and filing in state court (which is usually faster). An ability to chose between several different federal courts is the exception rather than the rule.

Of course, speed is usually a secondary consideration. The likelihood of a decision maker to rule in your favor (i.e. the jury pool in a case with a jury trial, and the range of potential judges in a case where the key decisions will be made by a judge) is almost always more important. This can be due to the legal precedents and local rules that apply in the respective forums (e.g. due to circuit splits of authority) and due to the differences in the expected biases of the decision-makers on a case by case basis.

A tertiary consideration is convenience to the lawyers making the choice of forum decision.

While official statistics are available, it would be common for lawyers to informally survey lawyers who practice in the respective courts about likely times of disposition for a specific type of case. Not all kinds of cases proceed at the same speed.

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    Thank you. I guess finding a court in a circuit with favorable appeals case law decision(s) can be found might also be a strong basis for a choice. Aug 1 at 15:11
  • @Burt_Harris Indeed (so long as there is a choice, and in the circumstances where there are differences between circuits on the legal issues that matter).
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 9 at 19:10

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