We recently added the a FREE database of Federal District Court Opinions since 2004 that are available using the opinion report in the Federal Courts’ ECF. The database is updated daily.
Here is the URL for the Federal District Court Opinions:
Categorization & Rss Feeds – We have categorized the opinions by state, court, type of lawsuit and judge and combinations of judge and type of lawsuit. You can also subscribe to each of categories through RSS feeds to track a judge or court’s decisions on different issues. And we also give the cause of action for each case.
Full Text Search – We are using Google’s hosted Business Custom Search Engine (http://www.google.com/enterprise/csbe/) for the full text search.
Google is now OCRing PDF image files, so even PDF files that have images of scanned documents will be, in most cases, full text indexable and searchable (just like the OCR of Google’s Book Search). You will need to look at the cached copy to see the highlighted searched text though, and then find in the original PDF to be 100% that what you are reading is correct. Google should be doing a pretty good job of indexing and ocring these court decisions, although it may take a few days for a new document to show up in the index.
We allow one to search across all of the documents, or to limit the search to Federal District Courts in a particular state or an individual Federal District Court. You can also search by party name, court and filed date.
Data Limitations – This data set does NOT include all of the Federal District Court opinions.
a. Not all of the courts have upgraded to ECF 2.4. So we do not have opinions for those courts that have not upgraded.
b. Not all opinions and orders are included by the Judges. As is stated on the PACER site
“Written opinions have been defined by the Judicial Conference as ‘any document issued by a judge or judges of the court sitting in that capacity, that sets forth a reasoned explanation for a court’s decision.’ The responsibility for determining which documents meet this definition rests with the authoring judge.”
Some judges have chosen not to include any of their opinions in the opinion report.
c. Some scans of are such poor quality that the OCR failed.
Federal District Court Case Filings Database Updated
We the US Federal District Court Case Filings database has been updated with Nice Opinion Icons. When we have a judge’s opinion (you will see a little gavel :). The case filings are at:
And we have added browse pages and RSS feeds by judge. That should make it easier to find other cases a particular judge has ruled on that are covering similar issues (at least at the broad case type level). If we have the opinions or orders online, you can see what the judge wrote, or you may need to log into the court’s ECF system and obtain the briefs and other filings (and pay a small per page fee).
The case filings and opinion databases are related, as they both have Federal Court data, it is just that the opinions database is limited to those cases where we have opinions.
More to come: We have one more features we are going to be providing for the the Federal District Court Case Filings, and another one we are going to providing for the Federal District Court Opinions that will be very kewl. But we are all going to have to wait for Vasu, Nick and Dan to finish these up this week (the pressure is on now that I have practically pre-announced more new stuff this week 🙂
:: The Promised Land, Darkness On the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen