dockets by 5C60ay


     Cleveland Law Library
         May 23, 2007

           Kathleen M. Sasala, Esq.
        Litigation Ammunition CLE
         Print vs. Online Dockets
  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
     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,
  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
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:
          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
2. Does the Court have an online
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:
      (Interactive map showing each state’s court structure)

 Ohio Judicial System flowchart
 Internet Gateways to Dockets
• National Center for State Courts
• Butler County links to all Common Pleas
  Court websites

• Ohio Supreme Court
       Ohio Supreme Court

Online Docket

   (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

  (Only a couple of weeks worth at a time)
Ohio Supreme Court Journal

  (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
  (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
8th District Court of Appeals:
      Docket at Cuyahoga Civil Docket Site:
      (Both civil and criminal appeals)
      (There is a delay in posting) (Ex. Case No. 88502)
      Court Calendar               (about a month worth of hearings)
         Common Pleas Courts
Online Gateways
 Butler County: links to all Common Pleas
 Court websites

 Ohio Supreme Court Links
  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas

Civil (including DR, Judgment Liens,
  Foreclosures, Special Cases under seal or
  very old) and Criminal Dockets
  (back to 1950):
  Search by party name, type of case, year, case number

Probate Court Docket
  (Back to 1975 for case names; Dockets 1998 to present)
  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
  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):
      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

 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  The Sixth Circuit uses PACER (back to 10/80)
  Court’s Calendar Online:

     Court’s Journal (last 7 days) online:
         Federal District Courts
• Federal District Courts
  Most federal district courts use PACER
  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:
  Federal Bankruptcy Courts
Federal Bankruptcy Courts
 Most federal bankruptcy courts use PACER

Northern and Southern Ohio Bankruptcy
 Both of these courts use PACER
     ND 1/85 to present; SD 1/91 to present
• 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 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
    +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
 $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$


 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
 Search by key terms, docket #, party name, NOS, attorney, judge,
  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

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 $$$$$
 $$$$ Fee-Based Products $$$$


 For a small fee, you can search multiple county
   courts in a state.

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