Rosenstengel and Yandle
EAST ST. LOUIS – Like a hockey team with two men in the penalty box, U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois is performing with three judges instead of five.
District judges Michael Reagan and David Herndon retired months ago, and President Trump hasn’t yet nominated replacements, leaving Chief District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel and District Judge Staci Yandle to carry the load Reagan and Herndon left behind.
Senior District Judge Phil Gilbert can share the load but doesn’t have to share it, as senior judges can turn down cases they don’t want.
As of June 30, Rosenstengel presided over 572 civil cases, Yandle presided over 674, and Gilbert presided over 303. The tallies don’t include prisoner suits and Social Security appeals.
Rosenstengel also presided over 438 individual claims cases in a mass action against Abbott Laboratories over prescription drug Depakote.
In an interview on July 12, she said the Depakote action is winding down.
“They’re settling and I really have just a handful," she said.
Rosenstengel said she doesn’t feel that the judicial shortage is a crisis.
“I don’t know if anything has fallen behind," she said. "I haven’t had to continue anything because I can’t get to it.
“Judge Yandle and I have asked each other when it would be unbearable...It will be unbearable when we need two cases tried the same week.”
But, that hasn’t happened yet, she said.
Rosenstengel said she works at night.
“I get out of here, I do my family commitments, and then I do my orders,” she said. “We’ll be very happy when we get judges on board.
“My husband will be happy.”