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§ 2-210. Case Citations – Most Common Form [BB|ALWD]

Principle: The core of a case citation consists of four elements:

§ 2-210(a) Examples Window (restore)

Element (a) - The parties' names (often referred to as the "case name" or less frequently the "style" or "caption" of the case) «e.g.»

  • Names are italicized or underlined (§ 5-100)
  • and boiled down using an extensive set of omissions (§ 4-300) and abbreviations (§ 4-100),
  • with a lower case "v." replacing "versus" «e.g.»,
  • and ending with a comma separating this component from the next «e.g.».

§ 2-210(b)(1) Examples Window (restore)

Element (b) - At least one ID or address for the case (often itself referred to as the "cite or "citation") «e.g.» consisting of

  • a medium-neutral citation, if provided by the court, (§ 2-230) «e.g.»
  • failing that, one constructed of:
  • the reporter volume number «e.g.»
  • reporter name (abbreviated) (§ 4-400) «e.g.»
  • the first page of the case in that volume «e.g.».

If the reference is to a portion of the opinion (as in most instances it should be), the paragraph number or numbers of that portion (with a medium-neutral citation) or the page number or numbers of that part should follow the case ID or address, set off by a comma. (Citations to one or more specific point or points in an opinion are commonly referred to as "pinpoint" or "jump" citations.) «e.g.»

§ 2-210(b)(2) Examples Window (restore)

In some situations only one ID or reporter citation is required. In others, two or more should be provided in "parallel" – i.e., in succession – separated by commas «e.g.».

  • Most courts that have implemented medium-neutral citation formats call for continued use of print citations in parallel, if available «e.g.».
  • When state cases are cited to a court in the same state, parallel addresses should be provided if the case is reported in both an official state reporter and a West regional reporter – the official reporter address coming first, the regional reporter address second, the two separated by a comma «e.g.». Under other circumstances, state decisions that appear in a regional reporter are cited only to that reporter. This can mean that the same decision will have a different citation form when cited within its state than when cited in other states «e.g.».

    ¡But see § 2-215(1)!

§ 2-210(c) Examples Window (restore)

Element (c) The date «e.g.»

  • The year of decision is enclosed in parentheses if it has not already appeared in the case ID «e.g.».

§ 2-210(d) Examples Window (restore)

Element (d) The court «e.g.»

  • In any reference where the court is sufficiently identified by the case ID or reporter – as for example "WI" or "Wis." – no additional reference is necessary.«E.g.»
  • The regional reporters covering numerous states and the reporters containing decisions of the lower federal courts do not sufficiently identify the court for a particular case. Consequently, that information must be added. Court identification is placed, in abbreviated form, in the parentheses containing the year of decision.«E.g.»
  • The highest appellate court in a state is indicated by the abbreviation for the state standing alone. Furthermore, no notation at all is required when the state is indicated in a reporter name. For example, "(Kan. 1976)" indicates a 1976 decision of the Kansas Supreme Court while a decision of the Kansas Court of Appeals would be indicated by "(Kan. Ct. App. 1984)" and a decision of the Kansas Supreme Court cited to the official reporter would simply show the date. ¡But see § 2-215(2)!
  • Whether to indicate which of several circuits, districts, divisions or departments of a court rendered a decision depends both on the court and the context for the citation. Which circuit of the US Courts of Appeals or which US District Court handed down a decision is always indicated «e.g.». With a decision from an intermediate level state court, the information should be included in any setting where it bears on the citation's authority or is otherwise important. Thus, in a state where the decisions of one department or circuit are not binding on another one, citations should identify the unit responsible for a case «e.g.». When citing the same decision in another state there would be no need to do so.

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