Research Guides

TMLL Research Guide - Chapter 8


USING WEST DIGESTS TO LOCATE STATE COURT CASES


  • Keep in mind that state and regional digests in our library, with the exception of the Maryland Digest, are updated only through 2006.

  • Use either the state digest or the appropriate regional digest, depending on which one the library owns. To identify the digests and reporters for each state's case law which are available in our library, consult "State and Regional Case Law Resources."
  • Start with the most recent series of the digest if the one you are using has been published in more than one series, e.g., start with Atlantic Digest Second Series, which will index more recent cases than Atlantic Digest.
  • Locate the Descriptive Word Index volumes for the digest set. Look up research terms to identify potentially relevant topics and key numbers. Check the pocket part of the Descriptive Word Index volumes to see if later terms have been added.
  • Look up the topics and key numbers in the main digest volumes to find summaries of cases. Digests are organized alphabetically by topic and, within each topic, chronologically by key number.
  • In addition to the main volume, references to recent cases may be in a pocket part in the back of the book or in a separate pamphlet supplement that covers the particular volume, or in a paper supplement at the end of the set that updates all topics and key numbers in that set. It usually makes sense to start with the most recent supplement and work backwards.
  • Record the citations of cases that appear to be relevant to your research situation. Note that the digest may include cases that are not mandatory authority. For example, regional digests include cases from other states; state digests include cases from federal courts.
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