Research Guides

TMLL Research Guide - Chapter 8


USING AMERICAN LAW REPORTS TO LOCATE STATE COURT CASES


A.L.R. can be useful for obtaining an overview of the law on a specific topic and for locating citations to cases, both within the jurisdiction and in other states. One recognized weakness of the state series of A.L.R. is that it sometimes gathers and reports case law without noting the fact that the cases are based on differing state statutes. The “Quick Index” for the state A.L.R. is a one-volume paperback covering A.L.R. 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th.

References to A.L.R. annotations are often found in secondary sources, code annotations, and citators. The print state law version of A.L.R. is currently in its 5th series. The newer series do not automatically update the earlier ones; that is, there may be annotations in the earlier series that are still useful and that are kept up to date in the volume’s pocket part. Use caution, however, because many of the older annotations have been superseded by a later one or may simply be too old to be useful. The process for determining whether an annotation in one of the earlier series is still current is as follows:

To check the currency of an A.L.R. annotation, do the following:

  • Go to the “Annotation History Table” located in the back of each bound volume of the A.L.R. Index.

  • Look for the citation to your annotation in the Table. Be sure to also consult the Table in the pocket part.

  • If you find your citation, note the citation of the superseding (more current) or supplementary annotation.

  • Also check the superseding annotation in the “Annotation History Table.”

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