Manual of Legal Citation/Court & Litigation Documents
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- 1 R24. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Your Case
- 2 R25. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Another Case
- 3 R26. Short Form Citation for Court Documents
- 4 R27. Capitalization Within the Text of Court Documents and Legal Memoranda
R24. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Your Case[edit | edit source]
- The full citation for a court or litigation document includes:
- Document title
- The exact page and line (or paragraph) you’re referring to
- Date of document
- Electronic Case Filing number
- Citations to documents
R24.1. Document title[edit | edit source]
- Use the tables to figure out what to abbreviate.
- Exception: Never abbreviate if the abbreviation would confuse the reader.
- Always abbreviate an official record, such as the appellate record, to “R.”
- Example: For their own profit and advantage, Defendants are misappropriating the non-transformed, copyrighted material in which each Plaintiff has invested heavily. Compl. for Copyright Infringement 11.
R24.2. Page and line[edit | edit source]
- The exact page and line (or paragraph) you’re referring to
- Use “at” if citing to an appellate record.
- Don’t use “p.” before the page number.
- Use commas only if necessary to avoid confusion.
- Use colon to separate page and line.
R24.3. Date[edit | edit source]
- Date of document, if the date is particularly relevant or omitting the date could cause confusion
- Miller Aff. ¶ 8, Jan. 12, 2015.
- Pl.’s Br. 4–5, May 7, 2014.
- Trial Tr. vol. 3, 45, Mar. 5, 2015.
R24.4. Electronic Case Filing number[edit | edit source]
- Electronic Case Filing number, if applicable :
- Include an ECF number in your own case whenever a document has been filed electronically. For other cases, the ECF number is optional unless it is necessary to find the document.
- Find the ECF number on PACER, a federal case management system that assigns each case document a document number.
- Use the page number on the original document, not the ECF page number.
R24.5. Parentheses[edit | edit source]
- Citations to court or litigation documents may also be enclosed in parentheses:
- (Mem. Opp’n 7)
Examples[edit | edit source]
- Defendants’ evidence in support of their “fraud on the copyright office” defense consists of nothing more than unsupported assertions in their Motion, multiple irrelevant affidavits from previously undisclosed third parties, inadmissible correspondence between counsel, and examples of prior lawsuits that all ended short of judicial determination. Pl.’s Resp. to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J. at 14.
- Pl.’s Compl. ¶ 12, ECF No. 147.
- Sanchez Dep. 1:1–2, Jan. 3, 2005, ECF No. 8.
R25. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Another Case[edit | edit source]
R25.1. Full citation to case[edit | edit source]
- After you cite to the document according to the rules set out directly above, add the full citation for the case where it comes from, and end with the case docket number in parentheses.
R25.2. Case with no decision[edit | edit source]
- If there has been no decision in the case you’re citing, then replace the year in parentheses with the date on which the filing was made.
- Pl.’s Resp. to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J. 14, Martinez-Mendoza v. Champion Int’l Corp., 340 F.3d 1200 (11th Cir. 2003) (No. 06-19139).
- Compl. 5, Parsell v. Shell Oil Co., 421 F. Supp. 1275 (D. Conn. 1976).
- Compl. 2, Jones v. Smith, No. 09-230 (9th Cir. Apr. 17, 2015)
R26. Short Form Citation for Court Documents[edit | edit source]
- Use a short form citation for court documents when:
- there is no mistaking what the short citation refers to;
- the full citation is not too far away (the full citation can be to the case itself, any other document from the case, or to the same document); and
- the reader has easy access to the full citation.
- Don’t use “id.” for court documents, unless it saves a lot of space. Unlike cases, court documents may be cited using supra.
|Full Form (Original citation)||Short Form Citation (subsequent reference)|
|Pl.’s Resp. to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J. at 14, Martinez-Mendoza v. Champion Int’l Corp., 340 F.3d 1200 (11th Cir. 2003) (No. 06-19139).||Pl.’s Resp. to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J. at 14, Martinez-Mendoza, 340 F.3d 1200 (No. 06-19139).|
|Decl. of Martha Woodmansee at 7, Salinger v. Colting, 641 F. Supp. 2d 250 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (No. 09 Civ. 05095).||Decl. of Martha Woodmansee at 7, Salinger, 641 F. Supp. 2d 250 (No. 09 Civ. 05095).|
R27. Capitalization Within the Text of Court Documents and Legal Memoranda[edit | edit source]
R27.1. When to capitalize "Court"[edit | edit source]
- Capitalize “Court” if:
- you are referring to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- you are referring to the court you’re sending the document to.
- you are naming the court in full.
- Example: The U.S. Court of Appeals held that actress’s performance satisfied minimum requirements for performance to be copyrightable.
- But: The Aalmuhammed court explained that “the word author is traditionally used to mean the originator or the person who causes something to come into being.”
R27.2. When to capitalize party pronouns[edit | edit source]
- Capitalize “Plaintiff,” “Defendant,” “Appellant” and “Appellee,” unless you are referring to parties from other litigation.
- Example: The Court concluded that it was unclear whether the Plaintiff had a copyright interest in her acting performance.
- But, if referring to parties from other litigation: In Bobbs-Merrill the plaintiff-copyright owner sold its book with a printed notice announcing that any retailer who sold the book for less than one dollar was liable for copyright infringement.
R27.3. Court document titles to capitalize[edit | edit source]
- Capitalize court document titles if:
- the document is filed in your dispute and
- you’re using the exact title or short form. (Do not abbreviate court documents within the text.)
R27.4. Do no capitalize types of court documents[edit | edit source]
- Do not capitalize the name for a type of court document, such as an injunction, petition, etc.