FAQ

What information is available on FindACase™?

This site provides case decisions from courts nationwide. All of the content is a matter of public record. FindACase™ does not contain statutes or regulations. To expand your legal research beyond cases, please visit www.versuslaw.com.

To learn more about courts that are covered by FindACase™, look at our Library Directories or click “Our Sources” from any page.

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From which courts are opinions available?

FindACase™ offers access to all federal and state case law. Coverage begins in 1900 for the U.S. Supreme Court, 1930 for the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals, and 1950 for the Federal District Courts and, with limited exceptions, State Appellate Courts.

For court coverage details, please see Library Directories. You can also access the directories by clicking “Our Sources” from the top or bottom of any page.

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What is included in each case?

You may review the first part of the text of any case listed in your search results for free. Also the case name, the court and jurisdiction.

With purchase of a case, you will receive a complete record, including the citation to the case and/or the docket number, and the footnotes (if any). This information is necessary to complete ongoing research or to use in a legal proceeding. If the document contains a simple affirmation or denial without discussion, there may not be additional text. Each case may be downloaded for $7.95.

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How do I search?

The FindACase™ home page defaults to a “Simple Search.” Just enter the keywords you are researching into the box and click “Go!” The search will cover all courts and jurisdictions for that term. You will receive a list of up to 25 results to review.

If you want to search a specific court or jurisdiction or date, click on the “Advanced Search” text. You will be taken to a search page that will allow you to select a date range, state location, and court type. You can adjust the number of results you will receive, as well as the type of search you wish to use (matching all search words, exact phrases, or Boolean searches). You can also choose to search by citation. Once you have filled in the form, click “Go!” at the top or bottom of the page.

A Simple Search will search for all of the words you provide in the search box. To search for exact phrases, select that option from the Advanced Search page

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How do I search by citation?

A citation search can be accomplished by entering the citation into the Simple Search query box, by selecting “citation” for search type on the advanced search page, or by using a Boolean search on the Advanced Search page.

Simple Search. To search for an opinion when you have the citation (official, parallel, or VersusLaw citation), enter the citation in quotes in the search field. Make sure you have the punctuation correct before proceeding.

For example, to find United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation, 559 F. 3d 1284 (Fed. Cir. 2009), using a simple search, enter the following in the search query box:

“559 F. 3d 1284”

This search yields a small number of hits, including both the 2009 Federal Circuit case and the later U.S. Supreme Court decision in the same dispute.

For this type of search, it is important to use the proper format, including spaces and punctuation. This search will retrieve the opinion cited and will also retrieve other opinions that cited to the opinion. Thus, you have the ability to follow the opinion's subsequent history.

NOTE: While you can search for an opinion by its citation, it is advantageous to know the parties involved as well since the document will appear for review without any citation or docket number listed. Results are sorted by relevance, so the cited case may not be listed first. If the case has been cited often, it may not appear in the 25 returned documents for the Simple Search; try the Advanced Search option instead.

For in-court purposes you may purchase the document with citations after reviewing it.

Citation Search. For a quick and easy method for searching by a document's official citation, choose Citation next to Search Type at the top of the Advanced Search page. This will refresh the page with a citation form in which you can enter the opinion's volume number, use the pull-down menu to select the reporter, then enter the page number. As with a Simple Search, the opinion itself will be retrieved as well as all opinions referencing that opinion. Note that this search goes across the entire library, including all jurisdictions, with a search return limit of 25 documents.

Boolean/Fielded Search. From the Advanced Search screen, choose Standard by search type and boolean next to Search By. Then enter the citation in the search box at the top in this format: (cite contains xxx) where xxx is the citation. Using the example above, the box would read: (cite contains 444 u.s. 286). The citation must be in proper format and the parentheses must be used. Use this type of search for opinions at least six months old; newer opinions will not yet have official citations. They will however, include a VersusLaw citation and docket number. See the FAQ on citing to a FindACase™ opinion.

NOTE: You can also use this fielded search for searching for opinions by the party names: (parties contains savilla) for example.

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I have a citation but don't know in which state to search?

An opinion's citation includes the name of the reporter in which it is "published"; there are state and regional reporters. The regional reporters listed below show the states that are covered for each:

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How do I find opinions on specific topics?

To find opinions on certain topics or points of law, you can use three different methods: 1) using all words; 2) using an exact phrase; or 3) employing a Boolean search.

All Words. This parameter searches for documents in which all the search words are present, in any order. The search presumes "and" between each word of the search. Use this technique for broad topic search. The Simple Search uses this model.

Exact Phrase. To find a phrase or term of art, select this search type; no quotation marks are necessary. For example: judgment of dissolution, ex parte application, community property share.

Boolean. A variety of options are available to you in a Boolean search (available on the Advanced Search page), allowing you to search with the use of connectors, wild card characters and fielded searches.

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How do I cite to a FindACase™ opinion?

All opinions, once purchased, on FindACase's site contain a VersusLaw citation as well as the court's docket number or official citation. In lieu of internal page numbers, all paragraphs of an opinion are numbered, allowing for a closer pinpoint on any specific quotation or point of law. See The Bluebook, A Uniform System of Citation, Eighteenth Edition; Rule 18.1.1, page 152. It allows, in part: "Screen or page numbers, if assigned, should be preceded by an asterisk; paragraph numbers, if assigned, should be preceded by a paragraph symbol."

Example of a VersusLaw citation format:

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 1966.SCT.41457, ¶15 (1966) www.versuslaw.com

In this example, 1966.SCT.41457 is the VersusLaw citation, and paragraph 15 is being cited.

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What does [U] stand for in the results list?

[U] indicates the opinion is unpublished. To exclude unpublished opinions from your search, first choose a Boolean search type from the Advanced Search page. Append your search with and not (name contains (U)).

Other characters indicate that an opinion has been withdrawn [W], or that it is a table case [T].

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How are document removals handled?

Content carried on this site is public information, and is acquired from courts in all states and federal jurisdictions. The entirety of this information constitutes a set of documents held in the public domain, which collectively form an appellate record. We maintain this set of documents to serve the public in matters of legal research. FindACase(tm) is one of many online and print sources for such cases.

To ensure the continued utility of this public domain resource, we will not remove a record from the public domain, which includes search engine indexes, nor will we redact any portion of it, without a court order from an appropriate court of authority.

When a court "seals" a decision, it does not intend to remove it from the appellate record. It intends, rather, to direct its own personnel, typically the Clerk of the Court, to cease making that opinion available to the public through the court, i.e., it will no longer be available at the Court's counter and will no longer be available electronically on the Court's system. "Sealing" a document does not remove the opinion from the appellate record, especially in the instance of an opinion which has received a citation.

If the document you want removed has a formal citation, we will not remove the document, i.e., a formal citation implies the case has been printed in one or more case law reporters and circulated to law libraries all over the United States. In such a case, removing the case from our servers does not remove it from the public domain; it merely disadvantages our users by leaving a hole in the appellate record.

We are a private company carrying public domain documents released by government entities to the public; we carry nothing that is not in the public domain. Other private companies carry these same documents and we all do so under the protection of Cox Broad. Corp. v. Cohn, 420 U.S. 469 (1975), the case line of authority from Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991), and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

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What is your privacy policy?

The FindACase™privacy policy can be viewed here.

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Questions? Comments? Contact us.

Contact us.

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