The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri (in case citations, W.D. Mo.) is the federal judicial district encompassing 66 counties in the western half of the State of Missouri. The Court is based in the Charles Evans Whittaker Courthouse in Kansas City.
Missouri was admitted as a state on August 10, 1821, and the United States Congress established the United States District Court for the District of Missouri on March 16, 1822. The District was assigned to the Eighth Circuit on March 3, 1837. Congress subdivided it into Eastern and Western Districts on March 3, 1857. and has since made only small adjustments to the boundaries of that subdivision. The division was prompted by a substantial increase in the number of admiralty cases arising from traffic on the Mississippi River, which had followed an act of Congress passed in 1845 and upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1851, extending federal admiralty jurisdiction to inland waterways. These disputes involved "contracts of affreightment, collisions, mariners' wages, and other causes of admiralty jurisdiction", and litigants of matters arising in St. Louis found it inconvenient to travel to Jefferson City for their cases to be tried.
When the District of Missouri was subdivided, Robert William Wells was the sole judge serving the District of Missouri. Wells was then reassigned to serve only the Western District.
The district is divided into five divisions: Western (Kansas City), Central (Jefferson City), Southern (Springfield), Southwestern (Joplin), and St. Joseph (St. Joseph). There are divisional clerk's Offices in Jefferson City and Springfield in addition to the primary office in Kansas City. New cases and pleadings in the District Court may be filed in the clerk's offices in Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Springfield; Bankruptcy Court filings, however, only are accepted in the Kansas City clerk's office.The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit across Missouri in St. Louis has jurisdiction over decisions appealed from the Western District of Missouri (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
The five court divisions each cover the following counties:
^Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 8, 1925, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 14, 1925, and received commission on December 14, 1925.
^Recess appointment; formally nominated on November 24, 1947, but the United States Senate failed to act on the appointment; appointed by recess appointment a second time, and again not confirmed by the Senate; appointed by recess appointment a third time; formally nominated on January 13, 1949, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 31, 1949, and received commission on February 2, 1949.