Know Your Judge: B. Lynn Winmill

This week in Know Your Judge, we feature Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

President Bill Clinton nominated Winmill to the federal bench in 1995. Winmill, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1977, served as an Idaho state judge for three years before becoming a federal judge. In 1999 he became chief judge—a position he’s held ever since.

Earlier this year, Winmill refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Blue Cross of Idaho Health Services Inc. challenging its failure to pay in full for the $87,000 cost of an insured’s medical transport by air ambulance.

In 2016, Winmill ruled that a paper mill worker was entitled to $234,751 in damages after being fired in retaliation for complaining to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about safety and health hazards posed by wood dust.

Numbers & Statistics

It’s more likely for Winmill to deny motions to dismiss in employee benefit cases than in labor and employment discrimination disputes. During his tenure, he has fully or partially granted more than three-quarters of the motions to dismiss filed in cases involving employment discrimination. As to labor matters, his rulings are across the board.

Winmill’s opinions on employment, benefits, and labor issues are usually affirmed if they get to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

On average, Winmill takes less time to resolve employee benefits cases than other disputes involving employment discrimination and labor issues. On average, it takes Winmill:

  • 423 days to resolve a lawsuit under American with Disabilities Act (he heard 25);
  • 271 days to resolve a case under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (he heard 19);
  • 450 days to dispose of a dispute involving employment discrimination (he heard 92);
  • 356 days to resolve a case under the Fair Labor Standards Act (he hear0); and
  • 386 days to resolve a lawsuit involving general labor issues (he heard 14).

Looking for more analytics on judges? Check back each Wednesday for our Know Your Judge feature or try Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics. And contact us if there’s a judge you want us to highlight.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carmen Castro-Pagan in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at; Martha Mueller Neff at