United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
(E.D. Tex.)
Seal of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
Location Tyler, Texas
Appeals to Fifth Circuit
Established February 21, 1857
Judges assigned 8
Chief judge Ron Clark
Official site

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (in case citations, E.D. Tex.) is a federal court in the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The District was established on February 21, 1857 with the division of the state into an Eastern and Western District.[1]

Organization of the court[edit]

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is one of four federal judicial districts in Texas.[2] Court for the District is held at Beaumont, Lufkin, Marshall, Plano, Sherman, Texarkana, and Tyler.

Beaumont Division comprises the following counties: Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, and Orange.

Lufkin Division comprises the following counties: Angelina, Houston, Nacogdoches, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Trinity, and Tyler.

Marshall Division comprises the following counties: Camp, Cass, Harrison, Marion, Morris, and Upshur.

Sherman Division comprises the following counties: Collin, Cooke, Delta, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, Hopkins, and Lamar.

Texarkana Division comprises the following counties: Bowie, Franklin, Red River, and Titus.

Tyler Division comprises the following counties: Anderson, Cherokee, Gregg, Henderson, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Smith, Van Zandt, and Wood.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is John Malcolm Bales.


The oldest federal civil building in Texas, the 1861 Customs and Courthouse in Galveston, housed headquarters for the Eastern District of Texas between 1861–1891.
Federal Courthouse in Galveston that housed the Eastern District court from 1891–1902, when the Southern District of Texas was created.[3]

The first federal judge in Texas was John C. Watrous, who was appointed on May 26, 1846, and had previously served as Attorney General of the Republic of Texas. He was assigned to hold court in Galveston, at the time, the largest city in the state. As seat of the Texas Judicial District, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state.[4]

Patent litigation[edit]

The Eastern District of Texas has seen an increase in the number of cases filed relating to patent infringement, notably in the courts of Judge T. John Ward in the Marshall Division, Judge Leonard Davis in the Tyler Division, and Judge David Folsom in the Texarkana Division. Perhaps because the district has a set of local rules for patent cases and relatively fast trial settings, patent plaintiffs have flocked to this small venue. In addition the proximity to larger cities (such as Dallas and Houston), along with a jury pool interested in protecting property rights, may attract patent cases to Marshall, Tyler, and Texarkana.

In 2003, there were 14 patent cases filed. In 2004, this number more than quadrupled to 59 patent cases filed. In 2006, the number of cases grew to an estimated 236.[5]

The district has been perceived to be a favorable jurisdiction for plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits, which win 88% of the time compared to a nationwide average of 68% in 2006,[6] even, according to some claims, in dubious cases (i.e. patent trolls).[7]

Between 2004 and 2011 the district presided over TiVo Inc. v. EchoStar Corp., involving the issues of patent infringement and contempt of court.

In 2009 Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML," according to an announcement by the plaintiff, Toronto-based i4i Inc.[8]

In 2013, 24.5% of federal patent suits filed in the U.S. were filed in the Eastern District. Judges in this district have been found to grant requests for summary judgment of invalidity at a lower rate than the national average.[9]

In 2014, 1,425 patent suits in the U.S. were filed in the Eastern District, making it the number one region with the most filings in the country, followed by the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in second place, with 946 patent cases filed, with the United States District Court for the Central District of California ranking third with 305 cases.[10]

In 2015, a staggering 43.6% of federal patent suits (2,540 suits) were filed in the Eastern District, which was more than the number of lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware (545 cases or 9.3%), the United States District Court for the Central District of California (300 cases or 5.1%), the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (228 cases or 3.9%) and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (162 cases or 2.8%) combined.[11] The vast majority of those patent cases were heard in the Marshall, Texas by District Court Judge James Rodney Gilstrap and Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne.[12]

Current judges[edit]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
24 Chief Judge Ron Clark Beaumont 1953 2002–present 2015–present G.W. Bush
25 District Judge Marcia A. Crone Beaumont 1952 2003–present G.W. Bush
27 District Judge James Rodney Gilstrap Marshall 1957 2011–present Obama
28 District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III Sherman 1965 2014–present Obama
29 District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III Texarkana 1966 2014–present Obama
30 District Judge vacant
31 District Judge vacant
32 District Judge vacant
18 Senior Judge Richard A. Schell Plano 1950 1988–2015 1994–2001 2015–present Reagan
21 Senior Judge Thad Heartfield Beaumont 1940 1995–2010 2003–2009 2010–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
3 Richard Schell Senior Status March 10, 2015 Karen Gren Scholer March 15, 2016
6 Leonard Davis Retirement May 15, 2015
7 Michael H. Schneider, Sr. Senior Status January 7, 2016

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Watrous, John CharlesJohn Charles Watrous Texas 1801–1874 1857–1870[Note 1] Polk, Polk resignation
2 Winch, Joel C. C.Joel C. C. Winch Texas 1835–1880 1870–1871[Note 2] Grant, Grant not confirmed
3 Morrill, AmosAmos Morrill Texas 1809–1884 1872–1883 Grant, Grant retirement
4 Sabin, Chauncey BrewerChauncey Brewer Sabin Texas 1824–1890 1884–1890 Arthur, Arthur death
5 Bryant, David EzekielDavid Ezekiel Bryant Texas 1849–1910 1890–1910 Harrison, B.B. Harrison death
6 Russell, Gordon J.Gordon J. Russell Texas 1859–1919 1910–1919 Taft, Taft death
7 Estes, William LeeWilliam Lee Estes Texas 1870–1930 1920–1930 Wilson, Wilson death
8 Bryant, RandolphRandolph Bryant Texas 1893–1951 1931–1951 Hoover, Hoover death
9 Sheehy, Joseph WarrenJoseph Warren Sheehy Texas 1910–1967 1951–1967 1954–1967 Truman, Truman death
10 Cecil, Lamar John RyanLamar John Ryan Cecil Texas 1902–1958 1954–1958[Note 3] Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
11 Fisher, Joseph JeffersonJoseph Jefferson Fisher Texas 1910–2000 1959–1984 1967–1980 1984–2000 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
12 Justice, William WayneWilliam Wayne Justice Texas 1920–2009 1968–1998 1980–1990 1998–2009 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
13 Steger, WilliamWilliam Steger Texas 1920–2006 1970–1987 1987–2006 Nixon, Nixon death
14 Parker, Robert ManleyRobert Manley Parker Texas 1937–present 1979–1994 1990–1994 Carter, Carter reappointment
15 Cobb, HowellHowell Cobb Texas 1922–2005 1985–2001 2001–2005 Reagan, Reagan death
16 Hall Jr., Sam BlakeleySam Blakeley Hall Jr. Texas 1924–1994 1985–1994 Reagan, Reagan death
17 Brown, Paul N.Paul N. Brown Texas 1926–2012 1985–2001 2001–2012 Reagan, Reagan death
19 Hannah, Jr., John H.John H. Hannah, Jr. Texas 1939–2003 1994–2003 2001–2003 Clinton, Clinton death
20 Folsom, DavidDavid Folsom Texas 1947–present 1995–2012 2009–2012 Clinton, Clinton retirement
22 Ward, T. JohnT. John Ward Texas 1943–present 1999–2011 Clinton, Clinton retirement
23 Leonard DavisLeonard Davis Texas 1948–present 2002–2015 2012–2015 G.W. Bush, G.W. Bush retirement
26 Schneider, Sr., Michael H.Michael H. Schneider, Sr. Texas 1943–present 2004–2016 2016 G.W. Bush, G.W. Bush retirement
  1. ^ Reassigned from the District of Texas
  2. ^ Recess appointment; the United States Senate later rejected the appointment.
  3. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on November 8, 1954, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 2, 1954, and received commission on December 3, 1954.

Succession of seats[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°21′07″N 95°18′09″W / 32.352020°N 95.302563°W / 32.352020; -95.302563