Case Citation (Rule 10)
Party Name v. Party Name, Volume Reporter Page (Court Year) (parenthetical).
United States v. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d 217 (D. Mass. 2004) (Jonas, J., dissenting) (noting historical examples).
Court Documents: Only underline party names (excluding the comma). Remember that every citation sentence must end with a period.
Law Reviews: Do not underline party names, but italicize procedural phrases. ==============================================================================
Party Names - Rule 10.2
Abbreviate and/or omit party names for easy but unambiguous identification.
The main party name rules are 10.2, 10.2.1 & 10.2.2. Rule 10.2 requires case names in textual and citation sentences to conform with 10.2.1, but citation sentences should also conform to Rule 10.2.2.
Some (but not all - read Rule 10.2 et seq) rules of thumb to keep in mind -
(1) Include only the first appellation of any party name [rule 10.2.1(a)] and
Remove any given names [rule 10.2.1(g)]
Remove any organizational designations apart from the first [Rule 10.2.1(h)]
Remove words indicating multiple parties or legal titles [rule 10.2.1(a) & 10.2.1(e)]
Remove "State of", "Commonwealth of" and "People of" and leave the state name unless citing opinions in which the party is the state where the court is located, then use "State", "Commonwealth" or "People" only [rule 10.2.1(f)]
, 23 Ill. 458 (1990) becomes , 23 Ill. 458 (1990)
, 23 U.S. 234 (1990) becomes , 23 U.S. 234 (1990)
Note that in the first example the case is in the Illinois Supreme Court, thus State replaces Illinois. In the second example the case is in the U.S. Supreme Court, thus the name of the state, here Florida, is the name of the party.
Remove all geographical designations that follow a comma [rule 10.2.1(f)].
Citation sentences must additionally abbreviate the words in Rule 10.2.2 and Table 6.
Use T10 to abbreviate states, countries, and other geographical units, unless the geographical unit is the entire name of the party (e.g., United States).
The volume of the case reporter as noted on the reporter spine or inside cover.
Reporters and Reporter Abbreviations - Rule 10.3.1 & 10.3.2
Which Reporter to Cite? [Rule 10.3.1]
For documents submitted to a court, always follow local court citation rules. BT.2.2 provides references but always check with the court. These local rules often require parallel cites.
For all other documentation and law reviews, follow the rules set forth in 10.3.1, roughly as follows:
(1) Cite to the regional reporter,
(2) If an opinion is available in a public citation format, cite to and parallel cite the regional reporter
(3) Rule 10.3.1 provides an order of preference for opinions not found in (1) or (2)
See also Electronic Resources.
But How Do I know Which Reporter for a Particular Jurisdiction?
As noted before, check local rules for court documents, else regional. Consult Table 1 and the appropriate jurisdiction to see what the correct regional or state reporter is.
What are the Reporter Abbreviations?
There is no table of abbreviations, so consult Table 1 for appropriate abbreviations for each reporter. Students will get to know them over time.
(1) Regional Reporters
(2) Federal Reporters
|Federal Reporter (federal appeals)||F.|
|Federal Supplement (federal district courts)||F. Supp|
|United States Reports||U.S.|
|Supreme Court Reporter||S. Ct.|
|United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition||L. Ed.|
For other federal courts (e.g. bankruptcy), see Table 1.
Each state's name has an abbreviation (Table 10) that is incorporated into each state's reporter system. Reporters for courts of last resort usually contain only the state abbreviation (e.g. Cal. = California Reports, or Mass. = Massachusetts Reports). Appeals courts usually have an abbreviation of "appeals" in their reporter title. For everything else, consult Table 1 for the appropriate reporter abbreviations.
(4) Remember to eliminate spaces between single capitals - which includes number/letter combinations for circuits or editions (Rule 6.1).For example: N.E.2d, S.D.N.Y.2d, Fed. Cir. or D. Conn.
(5) For public domain citation, see rule 10.3.3.
Page(s) - Rule 3.2(a)
(1) When first citing a case, always provide the page on which the opinion begins.
(2) A pinpoint cite is required when the proposition you are supporting comes from a particular sentence(s)/page(s) of a case. You cannot cite merely to the first page unless you are talking about the case in general.
(3) If you wish to use a pinpoint cite when first citing a case, then add the page after the first page number. This is true even if both are the same page. For example:-United States v. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d 217, 220 (D. Mass. 2004). United States v. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d 217, 217 (D. Mass. 2004).
(4) Once you have given the full citation, subsequent short forms [Rule 10.9] can be used, but always add the pinpoint cite (e.g. Legault, 323 F. Supp. 2d at 220).
(5) For multiple pages [Rule 3.2(a)], only retain the last two digits if the first are identical. Use a dash to separate the pages (e.g. 190-92 or 199-201 or 188, 190-93).
Court - Rule 10.4
A citation should indicate the court where an opinion was issued.Apart from some exceptions noted below, the jurisdiction and court is indicated in a citation's first parenthetical (before the year). Abbreviate the court and jurisdiction according to Tables 1 - 2 (jurisdictional), 7 (courts) and 10 (geographical).
Some wrinkles to keep an eye on are:
(1) If citing to the supreme court of the United States (U.S.), then no court or jurisdictional indicator is necessary.
, 24 U.S. 762 (1996)
(2) If citing to an opinion from a state's highest court, then only the jurisdictional indicator is necessary, unless (4) applies below [Rule 10.4(b)].
, 34 N.E.2d 345 (Mass. 1987)
(3) If a reporter abbreviation clearly indicates the jurisdiction, then the jurisdiction and court abbreviation is not required in the parenthetical [Rule 10.4(b)].
, 16 Mass. App. Ct. 322 (1872)
(4) If a reporter name is the same as a state's highest court's abbreviation, then no indicator is required [Rule 10.4(b)].
, 23 Mass. 123 (1965)
(5) Remember to eliminate spaces between single capitals - which includes number/letter combinations for circuits or editions, e.g. S.D.N.Y.2d, Fed. Cir. [See Rule 6.1].
Year - Rule 10.5
Insert the year of decision [Rule 10.5(a)]. For decisions not published in official reporters, give the exact date [Rule 10.5(b)].
Parenthetical Information - Rules 1.5, 1.6, 10.6
Additional information is sometimes included after the court/year parenthetical in a following separate parenthetical.
There are two main types (though others exist, see rules 10.6 & 1.6);
(i) substantive information [rule 1.5] and
(ii) information regarding cases [rule 10.6].
Substantive Information [rule 1.5]
These are also called explanatory parentheticals.
If information is not appropriate in the text but would help a reader to understand a citated proposition, then it should be added into a parenthetical. Further, explanatory parentheticals should
(1) Begin with a present participle [rule 1.5(a)(i)] or
(2) Consist only of a direct quote [rule 10.5(a)(ii)]
A short statement can be used instead of the present participle (though the Rule is unclear as to when). Never start a present participle with a capital letter. If a quote is a full sentence or reads as a full sentence, then begin with a capital letter.
, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (questioning the relevancy of DNA evidence).
, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) ("[Each author clearly infringed...").
, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) ("The author clearly infringed...").
Information Regarding Cases [rule 10.6]
These include weight of authority [rule 10.6.1(a)] and cases citing other cases [rule 10.6.2]
, 345 Mass. 222 (1990) (per curiam).
(Lochlann, J., dissenting).
, 34 Mass. 56 (1998) (citing , 4 Mass. 45 (1898))