Federal Courts District Update – June 2023

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For more federal courts content, please see the Quarterly Federal Courts Committee Newsletter. This quarter’s newsletter includes an interview with the Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett of the Central District of California.

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Judicial Conference Request for New Federal Judgeships: On April 25, 2023, the Judicial Conference of the United States (JCUS) transmitted to Congress its biennial request for new federal court judgeships. In her transmittal cover letter, JCUS Secretary Roslynn R. Mauskopf noted, “Seven of our district courts continue to struggle with extraordinarily high and sustained workloads.”  Two of those seven courts were in California: the Eastern District of California and the Northern District of California.

Southern District of California

End of COVID Emergency for the Judiciary: On May 17, the Court ordered that the Chief Judge’s Orders related to the COVID-19 emergency (Nos. 28-A, 36-C, 59-D, and 62-B) will no longer be in effect. (CJO 99.)

Case Assignments for New Magistrates: The Court entered an order spelling out the procedure for assigning cases to new magistrate judges. (GO 639-A.)

Local Rules: On March 16 and May 10, 2023, amendments to Civil Local Rules 16.1(Pretrial and Setting for Trial) and 40.1(Assignment of Civil Cases) and Criminal Local Rules 16.1a (Meet and Confer Requirement) and 57.2.1 (Related Cases) took effect. (GO 748 and 749.)

Magistrate Selection Panel: On May 10, 2023, the Court appointed the following persons to serve as a Merit Selection Panel to assist with the appointment of a Magistrate Judge: Joe Leventhal, Jose Badillo, Carolina Bravo-Karimi, Helen Hong, Randy K. Jones, Shireen Matthews, Andrew Nietor, Regina A. Petty, Arlene Yang, Jay Campbell, and Rudy Johnson.

Central District of California

Passing of Ronald S.W. Lew: Senior District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew passed away on May 19, 2023. Judge Lew was nominated to serve as a District Judge for the Central District of California in 1987 and assumed senior status in 2006. Judge Lew was the first Chinese American appointed to the federal bench in the continental U.S. Judge Lew is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mamie, four children, and grandchildren. Read the Court’s announcement here.

Judicial Appointments: On May 3, 2023, the U.S. Senate confirmed Superior Court Judge Wesley L. Hsu to the seat held by District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who assumed senior status in February 2022. Judge Hsu previously served as a Superior Court Judge since 2017. Read more about Judge Hsu here.

Eastern District of California

Remembering Judge Garcia:Judge Edward J. Garcia passed away on April 29, 2023. Judge Garcia served as a U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of California for 28 years. The EDCA Court’s tribute to Judge Garcia can be found here.

Request for Judgeships: The Eastern District of California has requested 5 additional district judgeships to ensure it can handle its high, sustained caseloads, now and for the foreseeable future as the Central Valley’s population continues to grow. The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has supported the Eastern District’s request. More information about the EDCA’s need for new judgeships can be found here.

Northern District of California

Facebook Privacy Settlement Information: A settlement has been reached between plaintiff and defendant Facebook in a class action lawsuit pending in the Northern District of California (In re: Facebook, Inc. Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, Case No. 3:18-md-02843-VC). The parties have established a website explaining who is eligible to make a claim and how to do so. (Website.) 

Juneteenth National Independence Day: The Court is closed on Monday, June 19th for Juneteenth National Independence Day. (Holiday Schedule.)

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