Case names for full citations Case names for short citations Part 2 of the Legal Methods Lecture Series By Deborah Gordon
Case Names - Introduction Use the full case citation, including the full case name, the first time that you refer to the authority.
The Components of a Full Case Citation Bluepages Rule 5.1: Name of the case Published source in which it may be found Parenthetical indicating the court and year of decision Other parenthetical information, if any (the “explanatory parenthetical”) Subsequent history of the case, if any
Underline the Case Name The name of a case must be set off, either by underlining or italics. The case name is followed by a comma, which is not underlined or italicized. Example: Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. McCarson, 467 So. 2d 277 (Fla. 1985).
Party Names in Case Names A full case name consists of only the first- listed party on either side of the “v.” Example: Dow Jones & Co. v. Harrods, Ltd. Not: Dow Jones & Company, Inc., Plaintiff, v. Harrods, Limited and Mohamed Al Fayed, Defendants
Party Names – Rules for Individuals For individuals, use only the last name (surname) of the party and omit the given name and any initials. Example: Spiller v. Ware Not: Martin D. Spiller v. Elliot A. Ware and Randle S. Scott
Two Exceptions for Using Individuals’ Surnames If an individual’s name is part of a business name, use the full name. Example: Tanya Bartucz, Inc. v. Virginia J. Wise & Co. If an individual’s surname is abbreviated in the case name, include the initial in your citation: Example: Linda R.S. v. Richard D.
Multiple Parties Omit words indicating multiple parties, such as “et al.”; Omit any alternative names. Example: Cheng v. Seinfeld Not: Cheng et al. v. Seinfeld d/b/a The Man, Inc.
Including or Omitting “The” Omit “The” as the first word of a party’s name, except as otherwise provided in Bluebook Rule 10.2.1(d). Example: Miami Herald v. Sercus
Geographical Terms in Case Names Omit certain geographical terms, such as “State of,” “Commonwealth of,” and “People of,” except when citing to decisions of courts of that state or commonwealth. In other words, if a state like New Jersey is a plaintiff in a state court, your cite would be State v. Jones because the citation will reference New Jersey either in the reporter or the parenthetical. If New Jersey is a party in federal court, your cite would be New Jersey v. Jones because neither the reporter nor the parenthetical will tell the reader “which state?” Other Examples: Commonwealth v. Ferrone, 448 A.2d 637 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1982). Blystone v. Pennsylvania, 494 U.S. 299 (1990).
Other Geographical Terms Omit “City of,” “County of,” “Village of,” “Township of,” and similar expressions unless a party’s name begins with them. Example: Mayor of New York v. Clinton Not: Mayor of the City of New York v. Clinton But: Butts v. City of Boston
Other Geographical Terms Omit all prepositional phrases of location unless the omission would leave only one word in the name of a party: Example: Surrick v. Board of Wardens Not: Surrick v. Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia Shapiro v. Bank of Harrisburg Eimers v. Mutual of Omaha
Business or Entity Names Omit business firm designations, such as Inc., Ltd., and L.L.C., if the name also contains a word such as Ass’n, Bros., Co., Corp., and R.R., clearly indicating that the party is a business. Example: Wisconsin Packing Co. v. Indiana Refrigerator Lines, Inc. Not: Wisconsin Packing Co., Inc. v. Indiana Refrigerator Lines, Inc.
Consolidated Cases If the case is a consolidation of two or more actions, cite only the first listed: Example: Shelley v. Kraemer Not: Shelley v. Kraemer, McGhee v. Sipes
Procedural Phrases Certain procedural phrases should be abbreviated in case names (and omit all but the first procedural phrase). Examples: “On the relation of,” “on behalf of,” and “as the next friend of” are abbreviated to ex rel., “In the matter of” and “application of” are abbreviated to In re.
More on Procedural Phrases Include any introductory or descriptive phrases such as “Accounting of,” “Estate of,” and “Will of.” Example: In re Will of Holt Estate of Haas v. Commissioner
Abbreviations Certain words must be abbreviated in case names. For example, abbreviate widely known acronyms (e.g., NAACP). Abbreviate the following 8 words unless they begin a party’s name: Ass’n, &, Bros., Co., Corp., Inc., Ltd., and No. Tables 6 and 10 contain other common abbreviations. Never abbreviate “United States” when it is a named party.
Case Names – Short Forms When using only one party name in a short form citation, use the name of the first party, unless that party is a geographical or governmental unit or other common litigant. Examples: Collins v. Brown,... becomes Collins, but… United States v. Francis,... becomes Francis,.. You may also shorten a long party name, for example from First Nat’l Trust & Inv. Corp. to First Nat’l, so long as the reference remains unambiguous.
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