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            Elements of a case


Docket Number


Names of counsel

Statement of Facts

Opinion of the Court

                Stare Decisis

“to adhere to precedent and not to unsettle
things which are settled.”
decision made in one case will be followed or
applied in the next case by future courts
principle of hierarchy
               Ratio decidendi

Principle of law on which the case is decided
Legal reasoning of the court which leads to its
Does the case at hand fall within a principle
that has already been decided?

Distinguish the facts
Distinguish the issue
  Legalissue was not raised in the case
  Resolution was not necessary for the decision

Not   precedent, may be persuasive
  What do you need to know about
            the case?
Priorhistory of the case
‘Direct History,’ Subsequent history of the case
   Same    case on appeal
      Same  parties, facts, litigation
      Affirmed, reversed, modified

Parallel   cite
   What else do you need to know
          about the case?
‘IndirectHistory,’ subsequent treatment of the
case by other courts
  How    courts unrelated litigation treated the case
      Different   parties, similar (?) facts, litigation
  Holding   criticized, distinguished, followed
Other   resources - - usually Secondary Sources
  Law   reviews, Attorney General Opinions
     Citators - - The tool you need

What is a citator?
Why use one

How to use one
              What is a citator?

A  tool which allows you to track the history of
your case and the treatment of your case by
subsequent courts. It will give you cases (and
other materials) which treat your case.
An index to cases (and other materials) which
cite your case
In the lingo, your case is the “cited reference”
and the cases which mention it are the “citing
               Why use a Citator?

Update    - - to make sure your case is still valid
  It may have been reversed on appeal (or reversed in
  It may have been overruled (or narrowed in
  applicability) by cases outside of its appellate line
Attack   the underpinnings of a case
  Table   of Authorities
           Why Use a Citator cont.

Early   in your research
  Findadditional authority
  Other cases that cite your case
       find out what other jurisdictions think
       find a fact pattern that fits/explains your situation better

  Find   useful secondary authority
       Law    Reviews, ALR’s that cite your case
End   of your research
  Ensure      your case is still good law
     How do you use a citators?

Shepards on Lexis
KeyCite on Westlaw

Concepts in Common

General Steps/Course of Action
           Concepts in Common
          With both vendors, you enter a citation (your case) and you get

Cases in the direct history
Citing sources

  the citing reference may do any of the following to
  your case or part of your case: cite it, vacate it,
  overrule it, follow it, explain it, discuss it, examine
  it, modify its holding, remand it, reverse it, etc.
               Concepts in Common
              With both vendors, you enter a citation (your case) and you get

A  signal about your Case (summary of the
citing references). E.g., red/yellow flag w/KC
or a red stop sign/yellow triangle w/Lexis-Shep
to warn of negative history.
Additional Signals
     theremay be additional signals next to the citing
     reference indicating its treatment.
                What For to Look
Direct   History:
  Check    subsequent and prior history
Indirect   History: Check negative cases
  Are they in your jurisdiction?
  What point of law was at issue?

  Are they distinguishable from your case?

Findother citing case which may bolster your
A signal indicates the status of the precedential
value of your Case
     summary   of the treatment of your case by the citing
     Signals are editorial enhancements. The signal
     assigned to the same case may differ between
     Shepard’s & Keycite. Why?
        Different   publishers use different analysis schemes
              Lexis Signal Indicators
   Warning
       Negative Treatment is indicated
   Caution
       Possible Negative treatment is indicated
   True Positive
       Positive treatment is indicated
   Analysis Available
   Citation Information Available
               KeyCite Status Flags
   Red
       Case is no longer good law for at least one of the issues included
       Statute has been amended or repealed
   Yellow
       Case has some negative history but has not been directly reversed
        or overruled
       Statute has pending legislation which may affect it
   Blue H
       Case has some history, no known negative
   Green C
       citing references but no direct or negative indirect history
       KeyCite Treatment Stars
KeyCite  has Depth of Treatment Stars:
  1 star - - which is usually just a string
  2 stars – less than a paragraph

  3 stars – discussion more than a paragraph

  4 stars – extended discussion – more than a
Whoa - - how
come it gets a
blue H and not
a red flag?
   Locate
    The Locate feature allows you to refine
    your KeyCite result by searching the text of
    cases, administrative decisions, and
    analytical materials in the citing references
    list of the KeyCite display.
                  A Word of Caution
   Can you rely entirely on the signals/flags?
    NO! Always read the citing case, to determine
    why your case was given negative treatment.
   If your case has a yellow or red signal, it may
    still be good law. RECAP (this is important)
       Check the negative cases
            Are they in your jurisdiction?
            What point of law was at issue?
            Are they distinguishable from your case?
                   Final Comments

Differences   Between Keycite and Shepards
   depth  of treatment stars
   organization of results

   differing editorial analysis

Technology    Advancements

Functions of Citator in Statutory
   Determine whether a statute is still ‘good law’
   Citator indicates whether a statute:
       Has been amended, repealed or pre-empted
       Has pending legislation
       Has been renumbered
       Has been transferred
       Contains an editor’s amendment note
       Was held invalid or limited on constitutional or
        preemption grounds or its validity was otherwise called
        into doubt
      Updating Statutes with KeyCite:

   Outline in Left Frame
   Mimics pattern seen in West’s annotated
    codes in print
   KeyCite Results at the Top
Statutes: History

                    KeyCite flags indicate the status
                             of the statute.
                        A red flag indicates that
                         the statute has been:

                            Recently amended
                            Repealed
                            Ruled unconstitutional
                            Preempted
Statutes: History

              KeyCite History for Statutes
                   A yellow flag indicates that the statute

                       Has pending legislation
                       Has been renumbered
                       Has been transferred
                       Contains an editor’s amendment note
                       Was limited on constitutional or preemption
                        grounds or its validity was otherwise called into
Citing References are from
the annotated statute
         Shepard’s Initial Display for
   In Shepards, statute segmented into sub-sections if
       This is an advantage over KeyCite
   Overall = “Exact Match”
   Individual Subsections segregated into distinct listings
   “Exact Match” MAY NOT include all citing sources in
   - Warning: Negative case treatment is indicated for
    statute . Notice the icon --
This is an example of how Lexis treated statutes,
separating the section from the subsection, but they
are moving away from this; can still find it with an
extra click.
Note: Shepard’s did not include
proposed legislation, but this is
changing. Try 42 USC 301
Pending Legislation
The statute segmented into
                 Learning Paper Shepards
Bound volumes and paper supplements: Gold, Blue Red, White.
These volumes are not cumulative, so you have to check each
Begin with the most current pamphlet.
   vol.   66 April 1999 No. 4.
  the front cover of the pamphlet, you will see “WHAT
   Thiswill tell you what bound volume you should have and what paper
   supplements you should have.
Entries are organized first by the reporter volume number then
the page number.
To decipher the entries, look at the introduction to the volume.

If you have to do this, call me.