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DOCKETS ONLINE Cleveland Law Library May 23, 2007 Kathleen M. Sasala, Esq. Litigation Ammunition CLE www.clevelandlawlibrary.org/public/dockets.org Print vs. Online Dockets Before… Print docket books and journals Call and order; physically send someone; call an attorney in the case Heavy, awkward & time-consuming to use Hard to find or inaccessible to the public Cases were often archived Costs included copies or certified copies After… Internet-ready, easy to search, easier access Many are free online Others provide more search capabilities for a fee Search parameters vary by court or database What is a Docket? • Traditionally, a docket was just a list of all documents filed in a pending case • Now, a docket consists of that list, PLUS It may contain the full text of the listed items. The Docket Debate • Court records often contain personal information: – SSN’s – Names and dates of birth of minor children – Financial record information – Medical information – Employment histories • Court lingo for this information: The Docket Debate • Most Likely Cases for “Personal Identifier Data” – Domestic relations – Child custody – Adoptions and juvenile matters – Employment terminations – Disability Discrimination – Medical malpractice – Bankruptcies – Juvenile matters – Traffic tickets The Docket Debate • Real-Life Examples: – Cincinnati: In 2006, a federal grand jury indicted 8 members of an identity theft ring who used tax information, medical records, bank account numbers and SSN’s from court records to steal the identities of hundreds of Ohio residents – PACER-In 2003, 7 co-conspirators used PACER to obtain information about 34 federal inmates and opened false financial accounts at 20 financial institutions The Docket Debate Cause: Fears of Identity theft, credit card fraud and public safety have prompted state and federal courts to reexamine electronic access to court records. Effect: This requires examining the traditions underlying public access vs. the privacy interests of the people and businesses the courts serve. The Docket Debate Schools of Thought Public vs. Private Debate: Court records contain private information that must be protected when records are disseminated electronically VS Public vs. Public Debate: Information in court records should receive equal treatment whether the information is disseminated in print or electronic format The Docket Debate Alternative Solutions: – Complete ban on all court records – Ban only certain information such as SSN’s, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, and full names of people – Use protective orders or seal certain records – Require a permissible purpose to access court records – Post only indexes, registers and calendars The Docket Debate Legal Issues and Court Opinions For a good discussion of the legal issues and court opinions on this topic, visit: Placing Court Records Online: Balancing the Public and Private Interests, 27 (No. 3) The Justice System Journal (2006) Also Available at: http://www.ncsconline.org/WC/Publications/KIS_PriPubR ecordsJSJVol27No3.pdf The Docket Debate Who has done what? 7/1/03: Butler County, Ohio Clerk was ordered to remove DR court records from the Internet 6/29/06: Hamilton County, Ohio blocked access to court records and created a privacy rule for court records National Center for State Courts has created guidelines on “Public Access to Court Records” Some courts are issuing policies and rules Dockets-Questions To Ask 1. Which Court’s docket am I looking for? 2. Does the Court have an online docket? 3. How do I find it? 4. What is the best/fastest way to find it? ??????????????????????????????? Court Structures Internet Gateways to Court Structures National Center for State Courts: http://www.ncsconline.org/D_Research/Ct_Struct/Index.html (Interactive map showing each state’s court structure) Ohio Judicial System flowchart http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/introduction/structure/default.asp Internet Gateways to Dockets • LLRX.com http://www.llrx.com/ • National Center for State Courts http://www.courtaccess.org/states/aall-weblinks/weblinks.htm • Butler County links to all Common Pleas Court websites http://www.butlercountyclerk.org/BCC/default.aspx?c=/StatewideCourt RecordsSearch • Ohio Supreme Court http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/web_sites/courts/ Ohio Supreme Court Online Docket http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/clerk_of_court/ecms/default.asp (Cases filed 1/1/95 to present) (Attorney disciplinary cases filed 1/1/89 to present) Search by: Case number Party Name (person or entity) Attorney in the case Ohio Supreme Court Oral Argument Calendar http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/Clerk_of_Court/calendar/default.asp (Only a couple of weeks worth at a time) Ohio Supreme Court Journal http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/Clerk_of_Court/Journal/Default.aspx (Brand new electronic journal or record of all orders filed in cases and CLE proceedings since 1/1/07) Search by case name, number, year & month Case Activity Notification Service http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rss/subscription/ (Subscribe to receive free email notices when documents are filed) Ohio Courts of Appeal Ohio Court of Appeals Dockets: Available from Courtlink and misc. individual court sites 8th District Court of Appeals: Docket at Cuyahoga Civil Docket Site: http://cpdocket.cp.cuyahogacounty.us/p_Search.aspx (Both civil and criminal appeals) (There is a delay in posting) (Ex. Case No. 88502) Court Calendar (about a month worth of hearings) http://appeals.cuyahogacounty.us/calendar/calendar.htm Common Pleas Courts Online Gateways Butler County: links to all Common Pleas Court websites http://www.butlercountyclerk.org/BCC/default.aspx?c=/StatewideCourt RecordsSearch Ohio Supreme Court Links http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/web_sites/courts/ Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Civil (including DR, Judgment Liens, Foreclosures, Special Cases under seal or very old) and Criminal Dockets (back to 1950): http://cpdocket.cp.cuyahogacounty.us/ Search by party name, type of case, year, case number Probate Court Docket (Back to 1975 for case names; Dockets 1998 to present) http://probate.cuyahogacounty.us/pa/pa.urd/pamw6500.display Search by last name, first name, company name, party type, case type, case number or status Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Asbestos, Welding Rod & Silica Dockets Available through LexisNexis File & Serve http://www.lexisnexis.com/fileandserve/ Includes docket and full text from 2003-present (Pre-2003 == CLAD == Complex Litigation Asbestos Docket) Case Management Order (on file at Law Library) Search the daily docket or search by case number, party name, document ID Excludes Workers’ comp. asbestos cases No public access at Clerk’s office United States Supreme Court Online Docket (current and prior term): http://www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/docket.html Search by Supreme Court docket number, lower court docket number or case name For cases accepted after 3/29/04, you can view the Questions Presented Federal Courts of Appeals Federal Courts of Appeals Most federal appeals courts use PACER Directory: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/links.pl Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals The Sixth Circuit uses PACER (back to 10/80) Court’s Calendar Online: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/courtcal/calstat.php?puid=0 Court’s Journal (last 7 days) online: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/daysheet/daysheet.php?puid=0 Federal District Courts • Federal District Courts Most federal district courts use PACER Directory: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/links.pl Some Court Calendars are on the Internet Northern and Southern Districts of OHIO Both of these courts use PACER ND Civil 1/89 to present; ND Criminal 1/94 to present SD Civil 1/88-present; SD Criminal 1/90 to present ND Court Calendar on the web: http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/cleveland.htm Federal Bankruptcy Courts Federal Bankruptcy Courts Most federal bankruptcy courts use PACER Directory: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/links.pl Northern and Southern Ohio Bankruptcy Courts Both of these courts use PACER ND 1/85 to present; SD 1/91 to present PACER PACER: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/ • Is a service of the United States Judiciary, but each court has its own URL and internal electronic case management system • Provides access to: • federal court dockets (excluding the U.S. Supreme Court) • lists of all participants, including parties, counsel, and judges • full-text opinions and orders for courts using CM/ECF system (which most are now) • Is Searchable: Courts of Appeal: by case number and party name District Courts: by case number, party name or filing date range Bankruptcy Courts: by case number, party name, SSN or Tax ID # • Costs $.08 per page (not billed until reach $10.00) • Coverage varies by individual court Free vs. Fee-Based Services Why use a fee-based service???? 1. It may be more user-friendly 2. It can provide more search options 3. You can search more than 1 court at a time 4. You can automate case tracking 5. They may allow access to archived materials that courts take offline 6. You can often order documents not available online $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ Lexis: Lexis.com LEXIS: Lexis has “Filings" databases for federal district courts, bankruptcy courts and some state courts. An entry for each case will include case name, attorney name, name of judge, date filed and type of case (subject matter). OHIO: Ohio databases include bankruptcy filings, Northern and Southern district court civil and criminal filings, Ohio judgment and lien filings from 82 counties 1993-present, and Ohio criminal case filings from Montgomery County $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ Lexis: Courtlink http://www.lexisnexis.com/courtlink/online/ +Access to online dockets and documents + Order copies of documents not available electronically + Coverage: U.S. Supreme Court, federal appeals courts, district & bankruptcy dockets, plus all or parts of 20 states, including Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals, Cuyahoga CP & most of the Ohio CP courts + Search by case name, attorney, judge, date, U.S. Code section, statute names, and cause of action +Set up alerts for new filings +Contains “historical” federal district dockets dropped from PACER $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ LexisNexis: File & Serve It means what is says-you can file and serve or just view and print!! It is a subscription service • For courts (free for courts) • For lawyers ($$$) • For the general public ($$$) Examples of Courts Using it: • Butler CP Court • Lucas CP Court • Cuyahoga CP Asbestos docket ($6-$12 per doc.) • Delaware Chancery Court and misc. courts $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ Westlaw: Westlaw.com 1. Lawsuit and bankruptcy FILINGS databases-(Including Ohio)-parties, case number, filing date, type of case 2. WestDockets (Not Ohio)-Federal courts and selected states- names of the parties, attorneys, case nos., judges, NOS, type of claim, status, docket, schedule of proceedings and appearances 3. Civil Judgment Records-liens and civil judgments for all 50 states (including Ohio) for businesses and individuals $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ Westlaw: CourtExpress.Com http://west.thomson.com/westlawcourtexpress/ Search by key terms, docket #, party name, NOS, attorney, judge, date Set up Docket Alerts or Tracking Order hard copies not available electronically Coverage: U.S. Supreme Court, federal appeals courts, federal district and bankruptcy courts, plus 25 states’ courts, including Cuyahoga County CP Court $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ Public Record Finder http://www.publicrecordfinder.com/courtrecords.html Searches a massive database of utility records, property records, court records, change of address records, and other business records You can only go so far, and then it costs $$$$$ $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$ KnowX http://www.knowx.com/suits/coverage.jsp For a small fee, you can search multiple county courts in a state.
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