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Finding Cases by Party Name or Citation

This research guide furnishes instructions on how to decipher case citation information and how to find cases if you only have a party name.

Overview

If you know a case's citation, such as 13 Cal. 3d 804 or 544 U.S. 460, you can use this information to locate the case on Lexis Advance, Westlaw, or Google Scholar.  You can also find the case in print publications if you do not have access to online resources.

Finding Cases by Citation on Google Scholar

You can use Google Scholar to find cases by citation.  From the Google Scholar page, type the case citation in the search box. Make sure the "Case Law" button is activated below the search box, then click the search button. You can select your case's jurisdiction if you know it on the search results page -- note that you can filter by jurisdiction using the menu on the left-hand side of the page. 

Finding Cases by Citation on Lexis Advance and Westlaw

On Lexis Advance, follow these steps to find a case by citation:

  • Type the case citation in the search box, then click on the search button. For example, typing "193 Cal. App. 3d 1069" in the search box will bring up the California Court of Appeal case, "Gray v. Kircher." You don't have to be precise with your citation punctuation.  You can type "193 cal app 3d 1069" and get the exact same results.  

On Westlaw:

  • At the Westlaw home page, type your citation in the search box. 
  • Click on "Search" to the right of the search box when you are finished.  As with Lexis Advance, you can skip periods and capital letters in the citation that you type into the search box, and your search should still be successful. 

Finding Cases by Citation Using Print Resources

If you do not have access to online resources, you can use print case reporters to look up your case by citation.

First, it's important to understand the main parts of a case citation. 

For example, the U.S. Supreme Court case, Granholm v. Heald, has the following citation:  544 U.S. 460 (2005)

  • The first number, 544, refers to the volume number of the print reporter in which Granholm appears. 
  • The abbreviation, "U.S.," stands for the name of the print reporter in which Granholm appears, United States Reports. 
  • The number, 460, refers to the first page number of the Granholm decision. 
  • The year in parentheses at the end of the citation tells you that Granholm was decided in 2005.  

Sometimes, you'll run into a reporter abbreviation that is unfamiliar to you. You can use the following resources to decipher the reporter's title:

  • Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations, KF 246 .B46, shelved on the main floor in LAW OPEN RESERVE. The reference desk also has a copy of Bieber's as well. 

  • The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, KF 245 .U5, which you can find in LAW OPEN RESERVE. There are also copies available on reserve behind the Circulation Desk. The reference desk has a copy of the Bluebook as well.

  • Ask a law librarian for help - we are familiar with lots of publication abbreviations.

We've prepared a chart displaying common print reporters with their abbreviations and locations within the law library:

Abbreviation Title of Reporter USF Call No.
  California Cases
California reporters are located on the library's main floor.
 
Cal., or C. California Reports KFC 45 .A2
Cal. 2d, or C.2d California Reports Second Series KFC 45.A22
Cal. 3d, or C.3d California Reports Third Series KFC 45 .A23
Cal. 4th, or C.4th California Reports Fourth Series KFC 45 .A24
Cal.App., or C.A. California Appellate Reports KFC 48 .A2
Cal. App. 2d,
or C.A. 2d
California Appellate Reports Second Series KFC 48 .A212
Cal. App. 3d,
or C.A. 3d
California Appellate Reports Third Series KFC 48 .A213
Cal. App. 4th,
or C.A. 4th
California Appellate Reports Fourth series KFC 48 .A214
Cal. Rptr., or C.R. California Reporter KFC 47 .C32
Cal. Rptr. 2d
or C.R. 2d
California Reporter Second Series KFC 47 .C322
Cal. Rptr. 3d
or C.R. 3d
California Reporter Third Series KFC 47 .C323
   
Federal Cases

Federal reporters are located on the library's second floor.
 
U.S. United States Reports KF 101 .A212
S.Ct. Supreme Court Reporter KF 101 .A45
L. Ed. United States Supreme Court Reports,Lawyer's Edition
KF 101 .A312
L.Ed. 2d United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer's Ed., Second Series KF 101 .A313
F. Federal Reporter KF 105 .F43
F.2d Federal Reporter Second Series KF 105 .F44
F.3d Federal Reporter Third Series KF 105 .F45
F.Supp. Federal Supplement KF 120 .F4
F.R.D. Federal Rules Decisions KF 8839 .F4
Fed. Appx. West's Federal Appendix (unreported cases) KF 105 .F45
A.M.C. American Maritime Cases KF 1100 .A2 A43
U.S.P.Q. United States Patents Quarterly KF 3105 .A2 U5
U.S.P.Q.2d. United States Patents Quarterly Second Series KF 3105 .A2 U55
   
State Cases -- Regional Reporters

Regional reporters are located on the second floor, except as noted.
 
 
A. Atlantic Reporter [In LAW COMPACT STORAGE, Lower Level] KF 135 .A7
A.2d Atlantic Reporter Second Series KF 135 .A7 A812
N.E. North Eastern Reporter [In LAW COMPACT STORAGE, Lower Level] KF 135 .N6
N.E. 2d North Eastern Reporter Second Series KF 135 .N6 N612
N.W. North Western Reporter [In LAW COMPACT STORAGE, Lower Level] KF 135 .N7
N.W. 2d North Western Reporter Second Series KF 135 .N7 N612
N.Y.S. New York Supplement KFN 5045.A33
N.Y.S. 2d New York Supplement Second Series KFN 5045 .A333
P. Pacific Reporter KF 135 .P2
P.2d Pacific Reporter Second Series KF 135 .P2 P312
P.3d Pacific Reporter Third Series KF 135 .P2 P313
S.E. South Eastern Reporter [In LAW COMPACT STORAGE, Lower Level] KF 135 .S6
S.E.2d South Eastern Reporter Second Series KF 135 .S6 S612
S.W. SouthWestern Reporter [In LAW COMPACT STORAGE, Lower Level] KF 135 .S7
S.W. 2d South Western Reporter Second Series KF 135 .S7 S612
S.W. 3d South Western Reporter Third Series KF 135 .S7 S613
So. Southern Reporter [In LAW COMPACT STORAGE, Lower Level] KF 135 .S8
So. 2d Southern Reporter Second Series KF 135 .S8 S612
So. 3d Southern Reporter Third Series KF 135 .S8 S612

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