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Community Justice Project: Dockets

The Community Justice Project offers an opportunity for students to integrate the University’s mission into their Clinic experience as they work for justice and reconciliation. This guide presents resources and information for guided research into topics

Bloomberg Dockets

Bloomberg Law is a subscription based legal research service, similar to WestLaw and Lexis+, although much much newer (meaning it doesn't quite have the complete buy-in that Westlaw and Lexis do).  So why do you need to know another legal database system?  Well, Bloomberg excels in certain areas that are quickly making it a go-to resource.  For instance, our St. Thomas subscription includes Bloomberg Law Docket Search which is a great way to search for publicly accessible court documents (without having to use PACER). 

Docket Search

One of the best use cases for Bloomberg Law, is its Docket search and retrieval.  Bloomberg Law Dockets cover state, federal, and select international court cases. Users also have access to Breaking Complaints, alerts, and searches.  Note however that some State materials will be inaccessible with your UST login as access varies by state.  For this training, we will focus on Federal Dockets

Docket research is generally used to find information about a particular case. Dockets contain information about the judge hearing the case, parties involved, attorneys involved, the events of a case, and more. Dockets are generally more useful for researching trials. Because trials may last many years, and involve many events the dockets are important for locating information about cases. Examples of documents that can be identified and (sometimes) located by retrieving a trial court docket include: motions, testimony transcripts, jury instructions and worksheets, judge rulings, expert witness names, and more. 

To get to Bloomberg Law Dockets: From the home page, click on Dockets under "Research Tools"

BLDocket

 

As you can see, there are many ways you can search dockets in Bloomberg Law. The information on this page will provide you with instructions on how to search dockets in Bloomberg Law by:

  • Searching with keywords;
  • Selecting a specific court or region;
  • Searching by party name; or,
  • Searching by docket number.
Searching with Keywords
  • Performing a keyword search in Bloomberg Law is similar to the process you would use in Westlaw Edge or Lexis Advance. To see the list of search operators that can be used in a docket search, click on the question mark. Clicking on the MORE link will open a new page that provides detailed guidance on using legal search operators. 

 

Searching by a specific court or region
  1. To select a specific court or region, you can type the name of the court in the Courts field, which will pull up a list of possible matches, or you can click on the Browse Full List button under the Courts field. From the menu that will appear, you can expand (+) and collapse (-) menu items.
    • For example, to limit your docket search to the Central District of California, you could either (i) type Central District of California in the Court field, or (ii) click on Federal Court Dockets -- Supreme, Appellate & District Courts -- U.S. District Courts to expand (+) the menu > then expand (+) Districts of California > and then click on Central District of California to select the court.
       
  2. To see the coverage of dockets in Bloomberg Law, click on the information  icon.

     
Searching by Party Name

Searching by party name is straightforward as well.  You can enter the name, and select the Type of the party (i.e. Plaintiff, Defendant, Appellee, Respondant, Debtor, etc.).  If you want to add multiple names, click +Add Another.

Searching by Docket Number

If you already have a docket number, you can search using the Docket # field. Docket Number searches are case-sensitive, so you must use the proper format for your search. Clicking on the will pull up a list of proper formats for U.S. Federal Courts.