Research Guides

TMLL Research Guide - Chapter 7


Rule 10 provides detailed rules for case citation form, including the parallel citation rule found at 10.3.1.  A thumbnail sketch of the most important aspects of the rules for case citation form is provided below.

Case names

  • Underscore or italicize all case names, including the “v." and any procedural phrases. Do not underscore or italicize the comma that follows the case name.  Rule 10.2.
  • Rule 10 covers in detail which parts of a case name appear in the citation, and the abbreviations of words in case names. Generally given names or initials of individuals, as well as terms such as "appellee" which describe the parties are omitted. Additionally, when a case is a consolidation of two or more actions, or if multiple parties are listed, usually only the first-named party on each side of the first-named action is used in the citation; phrases such as "et al.” are omitted. Long procedural phrases such as "for the use of" or "on behalf of" are abbreviated to “in re,” “ex parte,” or “ex rel.”  See Rules 10.2.1 and 10.2.2.  Many terms in party names may be abbreviated; for example, the case name Bazak International Corporation v. Mast Industries, Incorporated may be written Bazak Int’l Corp. v. Mast Indus. Inc.  For more information on abbreviations in case names, refer to Rule 10.2 and Tables T. 6 and T. 11.

Reporters

  • Table T. 1 provides information as to which reporters to cite for each jurisdiction.  Court name abbreviations are listed in Table T. 7.

Parenthetical

  • It is essential that every case citation indicate which court decided the case.  According to Rule 10.4, give the name of the court and its geographical jurisdiction (abbreviated according to Table T. 1) in the parenthetical phrase that immediately follows the citation.

If the court of decision is the highest court of the state, the abbreviation for the court provided by Table T. 1 is simply the abbreviation for that state.  Note that the jurisdiction is omitted from the parenthetical if it is “unambiguously conveyed by the reporter title.”

Example: Weems v. State, 590 S.W.2d 693 (Mo. Ct. App. S. Dist. 1979)

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District (an intermediate level appellate court, not the highest state court) is abbreviated as shown.

  • The citation must also include the date or year of decision.
  • Prior and subsequent history of a case may be included according to Rule 10.7. The general rule is that the subsequent history of a case (such as decisions on appeal) other than remands, rehearings, and rehearings en banc is given in full. Prior history is included only if deemed significant by the writer (e.g., if a lower court opinion more clearly describes or analyzes the issues in the case than the disposition on appeal); it is never mandatory.    

Rules 10.9 and 18.1.1 govern citations to electronic databases. Although citation to print sources is the preferred format, you may need to cite to an electronic source if a case is unreported or is very recent and has not appeared in the print reporters.

Example: Robinson v. Hicks, No. 1:07-CV-1751, 2010 WL 5697139, at *5 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 2, 2010)

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