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248 U.S. 215 (volume number - reporter - page number)

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Cases are published in the order decided by the court - chronological order (i.e. property rights, customers). A reporter will have cases by different judges on a wide variety of topics following each other: criminal law decision followed by a voting rights decision followed by a malpractice decision. To find cases on a certain topic, there is a case finding tool called a case digest.

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You can find cases and their citations using print resources by using the Case Name volumes at the end of a West digest set. Some digests have volumes listing cases by Plaintiffs or Defendants or both.

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To view a document, either click on the hyperlink for the citation or the available pinpoint reference(s) that will take you to the exact place(s) where your authority is referenced.

With regard to cases, they are listed in order by U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuits in number order, federal districts courts in alphabetical order, and then states in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, law reviews and journals are listed in alphabetical order by publication title, rather than date. Obviously, date only matters when there are a lot of articles to review.

You could look at all of the citing decisions in an unrestricted report, but where there are a lot of citations, you may want to restrict your results. Lexis Nexis provides choices at the top of the screen for negative references only (All Neg), positive references only (All Pos), or a customized list (Focus-Restrict By). The Focus option is a great tool to limit a long list of citations by various criteria, including:

  • Negative, positive or other treatment
  • Jurisdiction
  • Federal (i.e., U.S. or particular Circuits)
  • State (i.e., a particular state or states)
  • Headnote(s) (i.e., the topic or topics Lexis Nexis has assigned to the authority)
  • Date (i.e., same year, prior years, subsequent years, exact date range)
  • Key words

* Click any Shepard's editorial treatment code (e.g., distinguished, questioned) to view its definition.

Warning: Negative treatment is indicated citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain strong negative history or treatment of the case (for example, overruled by or reversed).


Warning: Negative treatment is indicated for statute citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain strong negative treatment of the Shepardized section (for example, the section may have been found to be unconstitutional or void).
Questioned: Validity questioned by citing references citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain treatment that questions the continuing validity or precedential value of your case because of intervening circumstances, including judicial or legislative overruling
Caution: Possible negative treatment indicated citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain history or treatment that may have a significant negative impact on your case (for example, limited or criticized by).
Positive treatment indicated citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain history or treatment that has a positive impact on your case (for example, affirmed or followed by).
Citing references with analysis available citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain treatment of your case that is neither positive nor negative (for example, explained).


Citation information available citing references are available in the Shepard's Citations Service for your case, but the references do not have history or treatment analysis (for example, the references are law review citations).


When viewing the report, indicators next to citing cases reflect the signal generating value of the editorial phrase. The colors of the level phrases indicate:

Indicator Color Description
Red Warning
Orange Questioned
Yellow Caution
Green Positive
Blue Neutral
Light Blue No phrase exists

The Summary box provides a snapshot of any subsequent, negative appellate history, as well as the numbers and types of citing references by type, including:

  • cases (by reason-i.e., negative, positive, neutral)
  • law reviews
  • restatements
  • secondary sources
  • statutes
  • treatises
  • annotations
  • other citations (in this case, articles)
  • court documents
  • Headnotes

Cases are broken down by many sub-groups, including:

  • Questioned
  • Criticized
  • Distinguished
  • Limited
  • Followed
  • Concurring Opinion
  • Dissenting Opinion
  • Explained
  • Harmonized
  • Interim Decision
  • Questionable Precedent

Citators like Shepards are used for several reasons:

1. To help you check the status of a case, statute or other authority to ensure that it is still good law, i.e., that it has not been superseded, overruled, reversed, and/or questioned.

2.To provide parallel citations and both prior and subsequent appellate history for your authorities.

3. For locating cases, statutes, law reviews, and other legal resources that quote or cite to your authority on the same or similar legal issues.

Administrative Head Coordinator for Public, Technical, and Assessment Services

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