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Human Rights Casefinder

1953-1969 • the Warren Court Era

Title of Cases

The person who files a lawsuit is usually called the plaintiff; the person sued is usually called the defendant. E.g., Jones (plaintiff) versus Smith (defendant). Sometimes a case is filed by a petitioner against a respondent and a third party intervenes (Intervenor).

The person who loses in the first court may file an appeal to a higher court. If so, he becomes the appellant; the person who won in the first court becomes the appellee. E.g., if Jones won in the first court, Smith may appeal; the case in the appellate court would probably be Smith v Jones.

Often there are many plaintiffs and many defendants, and the bestknown party's name is not listed first, and may not be in the title at all, as listed in the Numerical Table of Cases. In the Alphabetical Table of Cases, one case may be found under the names of several plaintiffs and several defendants, including the best-known party's name.

Sometimes when the plaintiffs lose in the first court, a different name is put on the case on the appeal because a different plaintiff takes the case forward as appellant. The title given to the case in the Numerical Table of Cases will be the one used in the highest appellate court, or in the latest listing of the case in the Docket or Acquisitions. All of the names known are given in the Alphabetical Table of Cases.

Titles of cases are not always given in the Casefinder the same way they are given in official reports. E.g., criminal cases are listed here as Connecticut v Seale rather than as People v Seale or State v Seale. See Explanation on page 142.

Citations to Unreported or Unfinished Cases

Many cases listed in the Case-finder were decided by jury verdicts or by trial courts without written opinions. Other cases were decided by appellate courts without written opinions or the written opinions were not published in an official reporter. (Some citations were not found by Casefinder editors because of title changes.) Some listed cases have not been decided yet. These cases cannot be found in official or commercial law books. They are only reported in noncommercial reporters such as Race Relations Law Reporter (RRLR), Selective Service Law Reporter (SSLR), or described in Meiklejohn Library publications. Brief descriptions of these cases can be found in the Civil Liberties Docket, volumes 1-14 (1955-1969), Meiklejohn Library Acquisitions (ACQ), volume 1 (1968-1969) or New Draft Law—6th edition (6th NDL) (1971). (See Selection of Cases, page ix.) From these descriptions, you can get the name and address of the lawyer in a case which interests you and write to the lawyer for additional facts or law, or you can get the name of the court where the case was pending, and its docket number, so that you can write to the court clerk for further information on the case.

Citations to Reported Opinions

Written opinions by state appellate courts and by all federal courts are published frequently in small booklets called "advance sheets." Later, all of the opinions published for a certain period of time are republished in book form in sets of books in a geographical or jurisdictional reporter system.

The standard form of citation to written opinions in these sets of reporters is to place the volume number before the name of the reporter, followed by the page number within the volume. E.g., volume 388 United States Reports page 2 is cited as 388 US 2.

Federal Citations

The majority of cases filed in federal courts start in US District Courts, such as the Southern District of New York (SD NY), (where there is more than one District Court in the state), or in the District Court for the District of Columbia (DC DC), (where the state or jurisdiction has only one District Court).

Decisions in District Court cases are reported in the Federal Supplement, FSupp. (Some cases go directly from 3-judge federal District Courts to the US Supreme Court. See cases at 74 in the Classification Scheme.)

Federal cases may be appealed from US District Courts to US Courts of Appeals in 11 Circuits, such as the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (CA 5). Decisions are reported in Federal Reporter, Second Series, F2d. Some cases go directly from administrative agencies to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (CA DC).

Federal cases may go to the US Supreme Court (USSC) from US Courts of Appeals or 3-judge federal courts. When the US Supreme Court agrees to hear a case, it either grants a petition for certiorari (cert granted or cg) or notes probable jurisdiction (prob juris noted or pjn). When the US Supreme Court declines to hear a case, it either denies a petition for certiorari (cert denied or cd) or dismisses an appeal (app dism'd). When the Court reverses a lower court decision, it may also remand the case for further proceedings in conformity with the opinion (rev & rem). When the Court hears a case, it then affirms (aff'd) or reverses (rev'd) the lower court decision.

US Supreme Court opinions are reported in the US Reports (US), the Supreme Court Reporter (SCt), Lawyer's Edition, Second Series (LEd2d), and US Law Week (LW).

State Citations

The several states have different names for their courts, and different numbers of appeals courts.

In many states there are four levels: (1) city courts of limited jurisdiction whose opinions are not reported; (2) county courts of general jurisdiction whose opinions are not reported; (3) intermediate appellate courts, and (4) highest appellate court. (1) The city (trial) courts are sometimes called Municipal Courts (Muni Ct), Justice Courts (Justice Ct) or Recorder's (Criminal) Courts (Recorder's Ct). (2) The county (trial) courts are sometimes called Circuit Courts (Cir Ct), Superior Courts (Super Ct), Courts of Common Pleas (Com Pleas), or, in New York, County Supreme Courts (Sup Ct). (3) The intermediate courts are sometimes called District Courts of Appeals (DCA) or Cts of Appeals (Ct of App), or, in New York, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (Sup Ct, App Div). The highest state court is often called the State Supreme Court (Sup Ct), although in New York it is the NY Court of Appeals (NY Ct of App) and in Texas there is a separate Court of Criminal Appeals (Tex Ct of Crim App).

State court opinions are reported in state court reporters such as Ohio State Reports (Ohio St). They are also reported in regional reporters: Northeastern Reporter, Second Series (NE2d), etc.

California cases are reported in the California Reporter (CR) as well as the Pacific Reporter, Second Series (P2d). California Supreme Court opinions are officially reported in California Reports, Second Series (C2d) and in advance sheets (AC). Intermediate California appellate opinions (DCA) are officially reported in CA2d and in advance sheets (ACA). New York cases are reported in the New York Supplement, Second Series (NYS2d) as well as A2d.

For assistance in finding opinions, ask any law librarian.

For other abbreviations, see page xv.

Ordering Copies of Pleadings and Briefs

The Meiklejohn Library is a repository of material on cases listed in this Casefinder. Whenever its initials, MCLL, appear at the end of a case in the Numerical Table of Cases, the Library has some documents in that case. The Library is happy to make copies of documents (at 15¢/page.)

The Meiklejohn Library is also the repository of National Lawyers Guild materials. NLG at the end of a case in the Numerical Table of Cases indicates that the Library can provide the same copying service for materials prepared by the Guild.

The national office of the American Civil Liberties Union has copies of the briefs it has filed in cases, and also has copies of briefs filed by its many city, state, and regional affiliates. ACLU at the end of a case in the Numerical Table of Cases indicates that the national office of ACLU, 156 Fifth Avenue, New York City, has a copy of one or more documents in the case.