Manual of Legal Citation/Cases

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Manual of Legal Citation
Table of Contents
Indigo Book.png
Foreword and Introduction
Background Rules
Rule 1. Two Types of Legal Documents
Rule 2. Typeface Standards
Rule 3. In-Text Citations
Rule 4. Signals
Rule 5. Capitalization Rules
Rule 6. Signals for Supporting Authority
Rule 7. Signals for Comparison
Rule 8. Signals for Contradictory Authority
Rule 9. Signals for Background Material
Rule 10. Order of Authorities Within Each Signal / Strength of Authority
Rule 11. Full citation
Rule 12. Court & Year
Rule 13. Weight of Authority and Explanatory Parenthetical
Rule 14. History of the Case
Rule 15. Short Form Citation for Cases
Statutes, Rules, Regulations, and Other Legislative & Administrative Materials
Rule 16. Federal Statutes
Rule 17. State Statutes
Rule 18. Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Restatements, and Uniform Acts
Rule 19. Administrative Rules and Regulations
Rule 20. Federal Taxation Materials
Rule 21. Legislative Materials
Rule 22. Short Form Citation of Legislative and Administrative Materials
Rule 23. Sources and Authorities: Constitutions
Court & Litigation Documents
Rule 24. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Your Case
Rule 25. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Another Case
Rule 26. Short Form Citation for Court Documents
Rule 27. Capitalization Within the Text of Court Documents and Legal Memoranda
Books & Non-Periodicals
Rule 28. Full Citation for Books & Non-Periodicals
Rule 29. Short Form Citation for Books & Non-Periodicals
Journals, Magazines, & Newspaper Articles
Rule 30. Full Citation for Journals, Magazines & Newspaper Articles
Rule 31. Short Form Citation for Journals, Magazines & Newspaper Articles
Internet Sources
Rule 32. General Principles for Internet Sources
Rule 33. Basic Formula for Internet Sources
Rule 34. Short Form Citations for Internet Sources
Explanatory Parentheticals
Rule 35. General Principles for Explanatory Parentheticals
Rule 36. Order of parentheticals
Rule 37. General Principles for Quotations
Rule 38. Alterations of Quotations
Rule 39. Omissions in Quotations
Rule 40. Special Rules for Block Quotations
Table 1. Federal Judicial and Legislative Materials
Table 2. Federal Administrative and Legislative Materials
Table 3. U.S. States and Other Jurisdictions
Table 4. Required Abbreviations for Services
Table 5. Required Abbreviations for Legislative Documents
Table 6. Required Abbreviations for Treaty Sources
Table 7. Required Abbreviations for Arbitral Reporters
Table 8. Required Abbreviations for Intergovernmental Organizations
Table 9. Required Abbreviations for Court Names
Table 10. Required Abbreviations for Titles of Judges and Officials
Table 11. Required Abbreviations for Case Names In Citations
Table 12. Required Abbreviations for Geographical Terms
Table 13. Required Abbreviations for Document Subdivisions
Table 14. Required Abbreviations for Explanatory Phrases
Table 15. Required Abbreviations for Institutions
Table 16. Required Abbreviations for Publishing Terms
Table 17. Required Abbreviations for Month Names
Table 18. Required Abbreviations for Common Words Used In Periodical Names
Table 19. Table of Citation Guides
Table 20. Tables of Correspondence
Indigo Inkling
Although The Bluebook encourages citations to Lexis or Westlaw when appropriate, note that many of the states have adopted public domain or media neutral citation of cases, as shown in Table T3. The Indigo Book encourages the use of public domain or media neutral citations. When giving a public domain citation, also include a parallel citation to the appropriate regional reporter if possible.

R11. Full citation[edit | edit source]

R11.1. Elements of a full citation[edit | edit source]

When providing a full citation to a case, you should generally include the following:
  1. case name;
  2. volume number, reporter, first page;
  3. pincite (the exact page number you are referring to, if necessary);
  4. court, year (see special instructions below for pending and unreported cases);
  5. explanatory parenthetical (if necessary);
  6. prior or subsequent history of the case (if any).
  • Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc., 88 F. Supp. 2d 116, 127 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) (“Plaintiff’s understanding of the commercial as an offer must also be rejected because the Court finds that no objective person could reasonably have concluded that the commercial actually offered consumers a Harrier Jet.”), aff’d, 210 F.3d 88 (2d Cir. 2000).
  • Toolson v. N.Y. Yankees, Inc., 346 U.S. 356 (1953) (per curiam) (affirming baseball’s exemption from the scope of federal antitrust laws).

R11.2. Case Name[edit | edit source]

Case names are often lengthy. Therefore when citing to a case, do not always include the case name in full.

R11.2.1. Individuals as parties[edit | edit source]

When referring to a case with an individual’s name in the case name, use the person’s full family name (i.e., their last name). Delete first name and initials, except when the full name of the person is in a language that lists the surname first, or when referring to the name of a business or where the court has abbreviated the party’s surname.
  • Example: Van Leeuwen v. Souto de Moura
  • Example: James T. Kirk & Assocs. v. Luke S.
  • Example:
    • Correct: Smith v. Jones
    • Incorrect: Jonathan H. Smith v. Allison T. Jones
  • Example:
    • Correct: Xu Lanting v. Wong
    • Incorrect: Xu Lanting v. James Wong

R11.2.2. Multiple plaintiffs or defendants[edit | edit source]

Only include the last name of the first listed party of the plaintiffs and the first listed party of the defendants.

R11.2.3. Italicizing[edit | edit source]

Italicize everything in the case name, but don’t italicize the comma at the end of the case name.
Exception for law review articles:
  • do not italicize case names in law review full citations, but
  • do italicize case names in law review article short form citations and procedural phrases such as “In re.

R11.2.4. Nicknames and aliases[edit | edit source]

Delete “et al.”, nicknames, and aliases.
  • Correct: Jackson v. Leviston
  • Incorrect: Curtis James Jackson III, p/k/a 50 Cent v. Lastonia Leviston

R11.2.5. Procedural phrases[edit | edit source]

Replace procedural phrases, and omit all besides the first procedural phrase.
  1. When you see “on the relation of,” “on behalf of,” and similar expressions, replace with “ex rel.
    • Correct: Affleck ex rel. Damon v. Kimmel
    • Incorrect: Ben Affleck, on behalf of Matt Damon v. Jimmy Kimmel, et al.
  2. When you see “in the matter of,” “petition of,” and similar expressions, replace with “In re”, except do not use “In re”, or any procedural phrases besides “ex rel.” when the case name contains the name of an adversary.
    • Example:
      • Correct: In re Nat’l Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litig.
      • Incorrect: In the Matter of Nat’l Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litig.
    • Example:
      • Correct: Estate of Jones v. Smith
      • Incorrect: In re Estate of Jones v. Smith

R11.2.6. Abbreviations[edit | edit source]

Abbreviate words in case names according to Table T11. If the resulting abbreviation is not ambiguous, words of eight or more letters may be abbreviated to save substantial space. Also omit terms such as “L.L.C.” and “Inc.” that indicate the party is a business when that fact is made clear because the party name includes a word such as “Co.” or “Ins.”
  • Correct: Cont’l Paper Bag Co. v. E. Paper Bag Co.
  • Incorrect: Continental Paper Bag Company v. Eastern Paper Bag Co.
Exception: do not abbreviate if the citation appears in a textual sentence as explained in Rule 11.2.19, below

R11.2.7. Geographical names[edit | edit source]

Abbreviate countries, states, and other geographical places according to Table T12.
  • Correct: Church of Scientology of Cal. v. Blackman
  • Incorrect: Church of Scientology of California v. Blackman
Exception: if the geographical place is one of the parties in the case, do not abbreviate it.
  • Correct: South Dakota v. Fifteen Impounded Cats
  • Incorrect: S.D. v. Fifteen Impounded Cats
Exception: do not abbreviate if the geographical place is part of a citation that appears in a textual sentence as explained in Rule 11.2.19, below.

R11.2.8. United States as a party[edit | edit source]

Spell out “United States” when it is a named party.
  • Correct: United States v. Ninety Five Barrels, More or Less
  • Incorrect: U.S. v. Ninety Five Barrels, More or Less

R11.2.9. State as a party[edit | edit source]

Omit “People of,” “State of,” and “Commonwealth of,” unless citing a court located in that state, in which case retain only “People,” “State,” or “Commonwealth.”
  • Example:
    • Correct: Lessig v. Colorado, 17 U.S. 107 (1998).
    • Incorrect: Lessig v. State of Colorado, 17 U.S. 107 (1998).
  • Example:
    • Correct: Lessig v. State, 109 P.3d 224 (Colo. 1997).
    • Incorrect: Lessig v. State of Colorado, 109 P.3d 224 (Colo. 1997).

R11.2.10. City as a party[edit | edit source]

Omit phrases such as “Town of” and “City of” if the expression does not comprise the first part of the name of a party.
  • Example:
    • Correct: James v. Village of Jamestown
    • Incorrect: James v. Jamestown
  • Example:
    • Correct: James v. King of Jamestown
    • Incorrect: James v. King of the Village of Jamestown

R11.2.11. Prepositional phrase indicating location[edit | edit source]

Do not include a prepositional phrase indicating location, unless the resulting party name would have only one word, or the phrase is part of a business’ full name.
  • Example:
    • Correct: Stevenson v. Board of Trade
    • Incorrect: Stevenson v. Board of Trade of Colorado
  • Example:
    • Correct: ACLU of N.D. v. Jones
    • Incorrect: ACLU v. Jones
  • Example:
    • Correct: Dam Things from Denmark v. Russ Berrie & Co.
    • Incorrect: Dam Things v. Russ Berrie & Co.

R11.2.12. Geographical designations[edit | edit source]

Include geographical designations introduced by a preposition, but omit those that follow a comma. Use “United States” instead of “United States of America,” but otherwise omit designations of national or larger geographical areas.
  • Correct: Cal. Bd. of Commerce v. City of Sacramento
  • Incorrect: Cal. Bd. of Commerce v. City of Sacramento, California

R11.2.13. "The" in party name[edit | edit source]

Delete “the” as the first word of a party’s name, unless the party is “The Queen” or the “The King,” or when referring to the established popular name in a citation or citation clause.
  • Example:
    • The Railroad Comm’n Cases
  • Example:
    • Correct: Int’l Soc’y for Krishna Consciousness of Cal., Inc. v. City of Los Angeles
    • Incorrect: Int’l Soc’y for Krishna Consciousness of Cal., Inc. v. The City of Los Angeles
Exception: retain “the” if it is part of the name of the object of an in rem action.
  • Example:
    • Correct: In re the Snug Harbor
    • Incorrect: In re Snug Harbor

R11.2.14. Commissioner of Internal Revenue[edit | edit source]

The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should be cited as “Commissioner” (abbreviated as “Comm’r” in citations).
  • Correct: Plainfield-Union Water Co. v. Comm’r
  • Incorrect: Plainfield-Union Water Co. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

R11.2.15. Multiple dispositions[edit | edit source]

For cases with multiple dispositions, include an italicized identifier if useful. In future citations of that case, the identifier can replace the full case name.
  • Example: Liriano v. Hobart Corp. (Liriano II), 92 N.Y.2d 232 (1998).
  • Example: Liriano v. Hobart Corp. (Liraino III), 170 F.3d 264, 266 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing Liriano II, 92 N.Y.2d at 236–37).

R11.2.16. Mandamus action[edit | edit source]

If a mandamus action is known by the name of the judge against whom the writ is sought, that name can be indicated in an italicized parenthetical.
  • Example: Jones v. United States District Court (Smith), 89 U.S. 233 (2011).

R11.2.17. Reported name for full citation[edit | edit source]

If a case is known both by the reported name and a distinct short form name, always include the reported name in a full citation. The short name may be included in italics in a parenthetical.
  • Example: Indus. Union Dep’t, AFL-CIO v. Am. Petroleum Inst. (The Benzene Case), 448 U.S. 607, 645 (1980).

R11.2.18. Abbreviation of commonly recognized organizations[edit | edit source]

Abbreviate any commonly recognized organizations, such as the SEC and the ACLU.
  • Correct: Red Lion Broad. Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969).
  • Incorrect: Red Lion Broad. Co. v. Federal Communications Commission, 395 U.S. 367 (1969).

R11.2.19. Case name in sentence[edit | edit source]

If you’re including the case name within a sentence (instead of a citation sentence or clause or a footnote) do NOT abbreviate words listed in the tables referenced in Rule 11.2.6 and Rule 11.2.7 above.
  • Correct: According to Texas Department of Community Affairs v. Burdine, once the plaintiff has established a prima facie case, there is a rebuttable presumption of unlawful discrimination. 450 U.S. 248, 254 (1981).
  • Incorrect: According to Texas Dep’t of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, once the plaintiff has established a prima facie case, there is a rebuttable presumption of unlawful discrimination. 450 U.S. 248, 254 (1981).
Exception: Shorten well-known acronyms and the following eight words: “&,” “Ass’n,” “Bros.,” “Co.,” “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” and “No.”
  • Correct: In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, the Supreme Court held that in a disparate treatment case, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of employment discrimination. 411 U.S. 792 (1973).
  • Incorrect: In McDonnell Douglas Corporation v. Green, the Supreme Court held that in a disparate treatment case, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of employment discrimination. 411 U.S. 792 (1973).
Indigo Inkling
There are multiple ways to incorporate a case citation in the text of an article, brief, or other written work. In the previous example (reproduced below), the case name is stated in the text and the rest of the citation is included as a separate sentence. There is no strict rule here, so choose whichever method will be clearer to the reader.

In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, the Supreme Court held that in a disparate treatment case, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of employment discrimination. 411 U.S. 792 (1973)

Alternatively, one can include the entire citation in-text as follows:

In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), the Supreme Court held that in a disparate treatment case, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case of employment discrimination.

R11.3. Volume Number, Reporter, First page[edit | edit source]

The citation should include: volume number of the reporter, abbreviated name of the reporter (listed by jurisdiction in accordance with Table T1), first page of the case.
  • Example: Terrible v. Terrible, 534 P.2d 919 (Nev. 1975) (denying ex-husband’s petition to split up property he and ex-wife owned as tenants in common).
This is how you decode case citations. The left column shows what your citation should look like. The right column shows what the citation means for someone looking for the case.
Citation Reporter
Demosthenes v. Baal, 495 U.S. 731 (1990). Vol. 495, p. 731 of United States Reports
United States v. $124,570 U.S. Currency, 873 F.2d 1240 (9th Cir. 1989). Vol. 873, p. 1240 of Federal Reporter, Second Series
Gucci America, Inc. v. Guess?, Inc., 831 F. Supp. 2d 723 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). Vol. 831, p. 723 of Federal Supplement, Second Series
Hamburger v. Fry, 338 P.2d 1088 (Okla. 1958). Vol. 338, p. 1088 of Pacific Reporter, Second Series
Camp v. Superman, 119 Vt. 62 (1955). Vol. 119, p. 62 of Vermont Reports

R11.4. Pincite[edit | edit source]

To direct the reader to the specific page you are referring to, you must include a pincite after you list the first page where the case is found in the reporter. If the pincite is the first page of the opinion, be sure to still include it by just repeating the number.
  • Example: Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc., 296 F.3d 894, 908 (9th Cir. 2002) (“The parties are advised to chill.”)
  • Example: Brown v. State, 216 S.E.2d 356, 356 (Ga. Ct. App. 1975) (“The D. A. was ready. His case was red-hot. Defendant was present, His witness was not.”).

R11.5. Pincite referencing multiple pages or a page range[edit | edit source]

  1. Multiple pages: Gordon v. Secretary of State of New Jersey, 460 F. Supp. 1026, 1026, 1028 (D.N.J. 1978) (dismissing a complaint charging that plaintiff, by reason of his illegal incarceration in jail, had been deprived of the office of the President of the United States).
  2. Page range: Helton v. State, 311 So. 2d 381, 382–84 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1975) (reciting the prosecutor’s closing arguments in a parody of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”).
  3. Passim. If your proposition appears in many locations in the opinion, or if you are referring to a general idea that pervades a source, feel free to append the word “passim” instead of a pincite.
  • Example: Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that the problem of determining a ship’s longitude at sea was one of the most prominent scientific quests of the day. Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time passim (1995).
Indigo Inkling
For page ranges consisting of page numbers 100 or greater, you need only provide the last two digits of the second number in the page range, providing that the preceding digits are identical between the two numbers (e.g., 284–89; 4158–72). Otherwise, include both numbers in their entirety (e.g., 199–231).
  • Example: Selmon v. Hasbro Bradley, Inc., 669 F. Supp. 1267, 1272–73 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) (comparing a “Leo-Lamo” (a hybrid lion/lamb animal character) to a “Bumblelion” (a hybrid bumblebee/lion toy animal) in the context of a copyright infringement claim).
Indigo Inkling
Learn to differentiate between hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes. These three marks all comprise short, horizontal lines that with the help of glasses and/or a magnifying glass, you will see have microscopically varying lengths.
  • Hyphens (shortest in length) are used for: phrasal adjectives (e.g., “laser-sharp focus,” “larger-than-life character,” and compound words (e.g., “daughter-in-law,” “over-the-counter”).
  • En dashes (longer than hyphens, shorter than em dashes) are used for: ranges of values (e.g., page ranges) and contrasting or connected pairs of words (e.g., Sarbanes–Oxley Act).
  • Em dashes (longest in length) are used for: inserting a break in a thought; isolating a concluding phrase; setting on a parenthetical explanation or amplification; and signaling a collection of ideas (e.g., When her new Volkswagen was finally delivered—nearly three months after it was ordered and following the revelation of VW's massive scheme of emissions control fraud—Alice decided she didn't want it).

R11.6. Citing a footnote[edit | edit source]

To cite a footnote, provide a page number followed immediately with a footnote number, using “n.” to show footnote number. There is no space between “n.” and the footnote number:
  • Example: Davis v. City of New York, 902 F. Supp. 2d 405, 412 n.22 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (describing how Jay-Z “showcased his knowledge of these Fourth Amendment rights” in his song 99 Problems).

R12. Court & Year[edit | edit source]

R12.1. Include court and year[edit | edit source]

Citations should include both the deciding court and the year of decision in parentheses.

R12.2. Abbreviations for U.S. courts[edit | edit source]

See Table T1 for how to abbreviate the names of all U.S. federal and state courts.

See the chart below for common examples:

Court Rule Example
United States Supreme Court Use U.S. if the opinion is published in the United States Reports. If not, use S. Ct.
When citing to a Supreme Court decision, just cite the year and omit the court’s name.
Two Pesos, Inc. v. Taco Cabana, Inc., 505 U.S. 763 (1992).

Brown v. Entm’t Merchs. Ass’n, 131 S. Ct. 2729, 2738 (2011) (noting that Justice Alito has done “considerable independent research” on violent video games for his dissent).

Federal Courts of Appeals Either F., F.2d, or F.3d, depending on the decision. Batman v. Commissioner, 189 F.2d 107 (5th Cir. 1951).

Nance v. United States, 299 F.2d 122, 124 (D.C. Cir. 1962) (“How do you know it was me, when I had a handkerchief over my face?”).

Federal District Courts Either F. Supp. or F. Supp. 2d depending on the decision. Frigaliment Importing Co. v. B.N.S. International Sales Corp., 190 F. Supp. 116, 117 (S.D.N.Y. 1960) (“The issue is, what is chicken?”).

Cartier v. Aaron Faber Inc., 512 F. Supp. 2d 165 (S.D.N.Y. 2007).

State High Courts Cite to the regional reporter for the region in which the court sits, if the opinion appears there. If not, cite to the state’s official reporter, as listed in Table T1.

Note: If citing an official reporter that publishes only decisions of the state’s highest court (e.g., “Cal.” for the California Supreme Court’s reporter), do not include the court’s name in parentheses.

Terrible v. Terrible, 534 P.2d 919 (Nev. 1975).

State v. One 1970 2-Door Sedan Rambler, 136 N.W. 59 (Neb. 1974).

Other State Courts Cite to the regional reporter for the region in which the court sits, if the opinion appears there. If not, cite to the state’s official reporter in Table T1.

Note: Do NOT include the department or district of intermediate state courts.

Brown v. Swindell, 198 So. 2d 432, 434 (La. Ct. App. 1967) (holding plaintiff could not recover damages for emotional distress allegedly due to embarrassment of owning a three-legged dog).

State v. Stroud, 30 Wash. App. 392 (1981).

Indigo Inkling
See Table T12.1 for the correct abbreviation for each state—even though some may not be consistent (e.g., New York is N.Y., whereas Michigan is Mich.). Also, be mindful of spacing.
  1. R12.3. Parallel Citation in State Court Documents
    1. R12.3.1. When submitting documents to state courts, follow the local rules for citations in Table T3.
    2. R12.3.2. State courts’ local rules often require a parallel citation: i.e., a citation to both the official state reporter and the unofficial regional and/or state-specific reporter, the latter following the former.
    3. R12.3.3. Two important notes:
      • Use one pincite per reporter citation.
      • When the official reporter title makes the state or court name apparent, then don’t include it again in parentheses.
      • Example: Harden v. Playboy Enterprises, Inc., 261 Ill. App. 3d 443, 633 N.E.2d 764 (1993).

R12.4. Special Note on Pending and Unreported Cases[edit | edit source]

Some cases or opinions are not assigned to reporters. They generally can be found in one of the following three sources

R12.4.1. LEXIS and Westlaw cases[edit | edit source]

Citations to these electronic databases are similar to regular citations, except that they (a) replace the case code with a docket number and a database code supplied by LEXIS or Westlaw, and (b) include the full date of the decision in the following parenthetical, not just the year.
Citations to these electronic databases should be formatted as follows: <Case Name>, <case docket number>, <database identifier and electronic report number>, at *<star page number> <(court, full date)>.
      • Example: Yates v. United States, No. 13–7451, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1503, at *40 (Feb. 25, 2015) (Citing Dr. Seuss, Justice Kagan explained, “[a] fish is, of course, a discrete thing that possesses physical form.”).
      • Example: State v. Green, No. 2012AP1475–CR, 2013 WL 5811261, at *7 (Wis. Ct. App. Oct. 30, 2013) (rejecting Green’s argument that there was a reversible error due to bailiff’s distribution of leftover Halloween candy to the jury).

R12.4.2. Slip opinions[edit | edit source]

A slip opinion is a published decision by a court that has not yet been included in a reporter. If there is a slip opinion for an unreported case, but it’s not in LEXIS or Westlaw, include the docket number, the court, and the full date of the most recent major disposition of the case:
      • Example: Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Co., No. 12 Civ. 6065 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 4, 2014).

R12.4.3. Opinions only available online[edit | edit source]

Opinions only available online, but not in an electronic database: Some cases, particularly ones that are pending, may be accessed only through a court’s website. If so, include the URL.

R12.4.4. Docket numbers acronyms[edit | edit source]

Different courts and publishers use different acronyms to identify civil and criminal docket numbers (e.g., CIV-A, Civ. A., Civ., No., etc.). Cite to the case docket number exactly as it appears. If a case has more than one docket number, these acronyms do not need to be included after the first reference:
  • Example: In re Salomon Inc. Sec. Litig., Nos. 91 Civ. 5442 (RPP), 91 Civ. 5471, 1992 WL 150762 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 13, 1992).

R13. Weight of Authority and Explanatory Parenthetical[edit | edit source]

R13.1. Explaining weight of the cited authority[edit | edit source]

To highlight information regarding the weight of the cited authority (e.g., for concurring and dissenting opinions), insert an additional parenthetical after the date parenthetical. Remember to separate the parentheticals with a space.
  • United States v. Leggett, 23 F.3d 409 (6th Cir. 1994) (unpublished table decision).
  • Ward v. Rock Against Racism, 491 U.S. 781 (1989) (Marshall, J., dissenting).
  • Harris v. State, 887 S.W.2d 514 (Ark. 1994) (per curiam).
  • Dep’t of Revenue v. James B. Beam Distilling Co., 377 U.S. 341, 349 (1964) (7–2 decision) (Black, J., dissenting) (disagreeing with Justice Goldberg as to the relative merits of bourbon and scotch).

R13.2. Explanatory parenthetical[edit | edit source]

To explain the proposition for which the case stands, insert an explanatory parenthetical.
  • Examples:
    • Stambovsky v. Ackley, 572 N.Y.S.2d 672, 674 (App. Div. 1991) (“[A]s a matter of law, the house is haunted.”).
    • People v. Foranyic, 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 804, 807 (Ct. App. 1998) (police have probable cause to detain someone they see riding a bike at 3 a.m., carrying an axe).

R14. History of the Case[edit | edit source]

R14.1. Including case history[edit | edit source]

When citing a case, include the prior or subsequent history of the case, subject to several exceptions. Refer to Table T14 for how to abbreviate explanatory phrases when introducing case history. Italicize the explanatory phrase.
Indigo Inkling
The United States is a common law system, where court decisions play an important role in defining what the law is. Simply put, there’s good case law and bad case law. To figure out the difference, we have to look at the case’s prior and subsequent history, because our view of what is good law may evolve as a case moves through the appeals process.

R14.2. Italicizing explanatory phrases[edit | edit source]

Always use the following explanatory phrases when applicable and italicize them:
  • aff’d
  • aff’g
  • cert. denied (but drop this explanatory phrase when the Supreme Court’s certiorari denial is more than two years in the past)
  • cert. granted
  • rev’d
  • rev’d on other grounds
  • Energy & Env't Legal Inst. v. Epel, 43 F. Supp. 3d 1171 (D. Colo. 2014), aff’d, 793 F.3d 1169 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 595 (2015).
  • In re Verizon Internet Servs., Inc., 257 F. Supp. 2d 244 (D.D.C. 2003), rev’d on other grounds, Recording Indus. Ass’n of Am., Inc. v. Verizon Internet Servs., Inc., 351 F.3d 1229 (D.C. Cir. 2003).
Indigo Inkling
Note that in the above examples, the relevant explanatory phrases precede the subsequent history. Explanatory parenthetical information about the preceding case should be included before any subsequent history.

R14.3. Different subsequent case name[edit | edit source]

When the case has a different name in the subsequent history, provide the new case name after the italicized phrase “sub nom.” (“under the name of”).
Example: Lerman v. Comm’r, 939 F.2d 44 (3d Cir. 1991), rev’d sub nom. Horn v. Comm’r, 968 F.2d 1229 (D.C. Cir. 1992).
Exception: Do not provide the new case name if either the parties’ names are merely reversed or if the subsequent history is simply a denial of certiorari or rehearing:
  • Correct: United States v. Schmuck, 840 F.2d 384 (7th Cir. 1988), aff’d, 489 U.S. 705 (1989).
  • Incorrect: United States v. Schmuck, 840 F.2d 384 (7th Cir. 1988), aff’d, Schmuck v. United States, 489 U.S. 705 (1989).

R15. Short Form Citation for Cases[edit | edit source]

R15.1. In Text[edit | edit source]

R15.1.1. First mention[edit | edit source]

The first time a case is mentioned in the text, include a full citation as shown here:
  • Example: In Fenton v. Quaboag Country Club, the court held that the house owners were entitled to an abatement of the trespasses by flying golf balls. 233 N.E.2d 216, 219 (Mass. 1968).
  • Example: In Fenton v. Quaboag Country Club, 233 N.E.2d 216, 219 (Mass. 1968), the court held that the house owners were entitled to an abatement of the trespasses by flying golf balls.

R15.1.2. Subsequent mentions[edit | edit source]

For subsequent cites in text, refer to one party’s name (or an unambiguous reference to the case name), as well as a short form citation in the form of <volume> <Name of Reporter> at <pincite>, as shown here:
  • Example: The court in Fenton also held that there was error in the award of damages based on loss of fair market value of property due to the flying balls. 233 N.E.2d at 219.

R15.2. In Citations[edit | edit source]

R15.2.1. Unambiguous short citation[edit | edit source]

If the reference is unambiguous and the full citation is easily accessible elsewhere, then you may use a short form citation.

R15.2.2. Form[edit | edit source]

For cases, a short form citation usually includes: <The First Party of the Case Name>, <volume number> <Reporter> at <pincite>.
  • Example: Malletier v. Dooney & Bourke, Inc., 500 F. Supp. 2d 276, 279 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) becomes Malletier, 500 F. Supp. 2d at 281.

R15.2.3. When to not use the first party[edit | edit source]

Don’t use the first party of the case name if that party either is a geographical or governmental unit or a party name that is used for multiple cases. Otherwise, it may confuse the reader.
Example: United States v. Carmel, 548 F.3d 571 (7th Cir. 2008) becomes Carmel, 548 F.3d at 573.
Example: Gonzalez v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005) becomes Raich, 545 U.S. at 8.

R15.2.4. Long party name[edit | edit source]

Shorten a long party name, but only if the reference remains clear.
Example: A Book Named "John Cleveland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" v. Attorney Gen. of Com. of Mass., 383 U.S. 413, 418 (1966) can become Memoirs, 383 U.S. at 418.
Indigo Inkling
In the absence of a clear rule on this matter, a “preceding five” norm has developed wherein one may continue to use a short form citation as long as the full citation appears in one of the previous five footnotes.

There has been some variation in the application of this rule; for example, some practitioners will continue to use the short form throughout an entire article or brief unless they need to use “id.” repeatedly, in which event they follow the “preceding five” rule to avoid potential ambiguity. However, none of these conventions are absolute.

R15.3. Using Id.[edit | edit source]

R15.3.1. Repeating the citation[edit | edit source]

If you are citing to the same case referenced in the immediately preceding citation, use id. as the short form citation.

R15.3.2. Guidance using id.[edit | edit source]

Id. should be used only if the preceding citation cites to one source.
  • Correct: In examining the third factor—the proximity of the parties’ products in the marketplace—courts assess whether the parties occupy “distinct merchandising markets.” Hormel Foods Corp. v. Jim Henson Prods., Inc., 73 F.3d 497, 504 (2d Cir. 1996); Naked Cowboy v. CBS, 844 F. Supp. 2d 510, 517-18 (S.D.N.Y. 2012). For example, would an unsophisticated viewer confuse the source of the long-running daytime television series with another party’s street performances or his souvenirs? Naked Cowboy, 844 F. Supp. 2d at 517-18.
  • Incorrect: In examining the third factor—the proximity of the parties’ products in the marketplace—courts assess whether the parties occupy “distinct merchandising markets.” Hormel Foods Corp. v. Jim Henson Prods., Inc., 73 F.3d 497, 504 (2d Cir. 1996); Naked Cowboy v. CBS, 844 F. Supp. 2d 510, 517-18 (S.D.N.Y. 2012). For example, would an unsophisticated viewer confuse the source of the long-running daytime television series with another party’s street performances or his souvenirs? Id.

R15.3.3. Pincite with id.[edit | edit source]

If you are referring to the immediately preceding case, but to a different page, use id. at <pincite>.
Example: In addition to suing all the federal judges in the Southern District of Georgia, the plaintiff also requested the government to fund a sex change for him. Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F. Supp. 1395, 1398 (S.D. Ga. 1996). Accordingly, the court ordered plaintiff to show cause why he should not be sanctioned for "filing a motion for improper purposes," such as those hinted at in the title of the pleading, "Motion to Kiss My Ass." Id. at 1401.

R15.3.4. Id. for other authorities[edit | edit source]

Id. can be used for all types of authorities—not only for cases.
Example: After conducting research on the use of Yiddish words in law, the authors found that the word “chutzpah” had appeared in 101 cases since 1980. Alex Kozinski & Eugene Volokh, Lawsuit Shmawsuit, 103 Yale L.J. 463, 463 (1993). Their search for the use of “schmuck” was impeded “by the fact that many people are actually named Schmuck.” Id. at 464–65.
Example: The Supreme Court has consistently proven hostile to any statute that could be interpreted as imposing prior restraint on publications. See, e.g., Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U.S. 697 (1931) (holding that a statute that enabled the state to close down newspapers on grounds they contributed to public nuisance violated the Fourteenth Amendment). The conspicuous absence of prior restraint laws in our nation’s history are indicative of a consistent belief they violate constitutional rights. Id. at 718.
Indigo Inkling
If there is an explanatory parenthetical or phrase in the preceding citation, it is not incorporated with the use of id.