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United States Courts Opinions on FDsys

Do you need a federal court opinion and not have a PACER account? The United States Courts Opinions — BETA database on FDsys is “a pilot project between the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) to provide public access to opinions from selected United States appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.”

The opinions are available as authenticated PDF files. If one uses the “drill down” menu, one will get a message saying, “Due to the Browse Results being too large you will now be redirected to the Search Results.” However, once one is redirected, one sees a large results set with options for narrowing the search that are similar to those in WestlawNext and Lexis Advance. A feature I like is that it lists personal names and organizational names separately.

For example, if one is curious about what the Northern District of Ohio is doing, one can select the 2012 opinions. After the redirect, one can browse the parties.  The Attorney General of Ohio has been a party three times this year. In Barbour v. Attorney General of Ohio, a pro se party provides a very interesting example of a complaint that does not state a claim upon which relief (“$29,000,000, immediate release from prison, and $50,000 in a suitcase”) may be granted.

The date range on this collection is from 2004 to present, though the coverage of earlier years is not as complete as more recent years. The geographic coverage includes three circuits’ appellate courts, nineteen district courts (including the Northern District of Ohio), and seven districts’ bankruptcy courts. For a list of courts, see “About United States Courts Opinions” on the GPO website.

One single comment

  1. Duke Law Library’s Goodson Blogson also has a similar post about this with some slightly different emphasis.