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LARW: Legal Analysis Research & Writing: Understanding Case Citations

For first year law students taking LARW.

How to look up a case with a citation

 

Reading Case Citations

A case citation typically has five parts: Party names, name if the reporter in which the case is found, volume number of the reporter, page in the reporter where the case starts, and the year the case was decided.  The party names and the year may not be inlcuded.  The parts in a citation look like this:

Brown v. Board of Education,   347     U.S.    483   (1954)

   ↑                                ↑       ↑     ↑      ↑

Parties                                                                        Volume       Reporter   Page     Year

 

Finding Cases by Citation in Print

The following two tables list commonly used abbreviations for Federal and regional case reports. 

Federal

Abbreviation

Reporter Name

Volumes

U.S.

United States Reporter

1-current

S. Ct. or SCT

Supreme Court Reporter

1-current

L. Ed.

U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer’s Edition

1-100

L. Ed. 2d

U.S. Supreme Court Reports, Lawyer’s Edition, 2d

1-current

F. 2d

Federal Reporter, 2d

738-999*

F. 3d

Federal Reporter, 3d

1-current

F. Supp.

Federal Supplement

590-999*

F. Supp. 2d

Federal Supplement, 2d

1-current

N.E. 2d

North Eastern Reporter, 2d

466-current*

*print coverage begins in 1985

Regional

Abbreviation

Reporter Name

Volumes

Ohio St.

Ohio State Reports

1-177

Ohio St. 2d

Ohio State Reports, 2d

1-70

Ohio St. 3d

Ohio State Reports, 3d **

1-current

Ohio App.

Ohio Appellate Reports

1-120

Ohio App. 2d

Ohio Appellate Reports, 2d

1-70

Ohio App. 3d

Ohio Appellate Reports, 3d **

1-current

Ohio Misc.

Ohio Miscellaneous Reports

1-70

Ohio Misc. 2d

Ohio Miscellaneous Reports, 2d **

1-current

Ohio App. Unrep.

Unreported Ohio Appellate Cases+

1-8

Ohio Op.

Ohio Opinions Annotated

1-60

Ohio Op. 2d

Ohio Opinions, 2d

1-75

Ohio Op. 3d

Ohio Opinions, 3d

1-24

Ohio B.

Ohio State Bar Association Reports/Ohio Bar Reports

1-31

Ohio C.C.

Ohio Circuit Court Reports

1-22

Ohio C.C. (n.s.)

Ohio Circuit Court Reports, New Series

1-26

Ohio Ct. App.

OCA Reports / Ohio Court of Appeals Reports

27-32

Ohio N.P.

Ohio Nisi Prius Reports

1-8

Ohio N.P. (n.s.)

Ohio Nisi Prius Reports, New Series

1-32

Ohio Law Abs.

Ohio Law Abstract

2-95

Ohio Cir. Dec.

Ohio Circuit Decisions

1-35

O.F.D.

Ohio Federal Decisions

1-16

Ohio***

Ohio Reports

1-20

Ohio Dec.

Ohio Decisions

1-31

Ohio Dec. Reprint

Ohio Decisions Reprint

1-11

OAG

Ohio Attorney General Opinions

1910-current

 

 ** In the Ohio Official Reports Series, three reporters are combined.  Starting in 1982 (Vol.1) Ohio State Reports 3d, Ohio Appellate Reports 3d, and Ohio Miscellaneous Reports 2d are combined into one volume.  Starting in June 1991 (Vol. 61) they are each published separately.  Starting in 1994, Ohio Appellate Reports and Ohio Miscellaneous Reports were recombined, beginning with Vol. 93 Ohio App. and Vol. 64 Ohio Misc.  Ohio State Reports continues to be a separate volume.

*** Ohio Reports covers Ohio Supreme Court cases reported between 1821 and 1851.  During the 1990's, the Ohio Supreme Court developed its own system of citations for finding opinions on the Ohio Supreme Court website.  This form, referred to as the WebCite, also uses the abbreviation "Ohio" (ex. 2009 Ohio 6054).  If you are unsure as to whether your citation is to the Ohio Reports or a WebCite, check the date.

+ Additional Unreported Ohio Cases are available on microfiche. The following are available: 5th District: 1974-1981 and 9th District: 1921-1962.