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Law: Case Law

Case Law are the reported decisions by judges that make new interpretations of the law. In the United State, courts adhere to stare decisions, which means that the court respects and adheres to the precedent of previous decision. However, not all precedents are binding. Higher courts trump lower court opinions. Additionally, opinions outside of a state's jurisdiction may be considered persuasive to a judge, but not binding.

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Case Law Presentation

State and Federal Cases Available Online

Nexis Uni - Shepard's Citation Services

In Nexis Uni, the Shepard's Signal marker indicates the standing of your case as treated by other cases. It helps to determine whether a case is "Good Law"

SHEPARD'S SIGNAL INDICATORS

COMMON ANALYSIS PHRASES

Positive Treatment Indicated

The green signal indicates that citing references in the Shepard's Citations Service contain history or treatment that has a positive impact on your case (for example, affirmed or followed by).

Followed by--The citing opinion relies on the case our are Shepardizing as controlling or persuasive authority

Warning: Negative treatment is indicated for statute

The red exlamation point signal indicates that citing references in the SHepard's Citations Service contain strong negative treatment of the Shepardized section (for example, the section may have been found to be unconstitutional or void)

Unconstitutional by—The citing case declares unconstitutional the statute, rule or regulation you are Shepardizing.

Void or invalid by—The citing case declares void or invalid the statute, rule, regulation or order you are Shepardizing because it conflicts with an authority that takes priority

Warning: Negative treatment is indicated

The red signal indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s Citations Service contain strong negative history or treatment of your case (for example, overruled by or reversed)

Overruled by—The citing case expressly overrules or disapproves all or part of the case you are Shepardizing.

Abrogated by—The citing case effectively, but not explicitly, overrules or departs from the case you are Shepardizing.

Superseded by—The citing reference—typically a session law, other record of legislative action or a record of administrative action—supersedes the statute, regulation or order you are Shepardizing.

Questioned: Validity questioned by citing references

The orange signal indicates that the citing references in the Shepard’s Citations Service contain treatment that questions the continuing validity or precedential value of your case.

Questioned by—The citing opinion questions the continuing validity or precedential value of the case you are Shepardizing because of intervening circumstances, including judicial or legislative overruling

Caution: Possible negative treatment indicated

The yellow signal indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s Citations Service contain history or treatment that may have a significant negative impact on your case (for example, limited or criticized by).

Criticized by—The citing opinion disagrees with the reasoning/result of the case you are Shepardizing, although the citing court may not have the authority to materially affect its precedential value.

Distinguished by—The citing case differs from the case you areShepardizing, either involving dissimilar facts or requiring a different application of the law.

Neutral: Citing references with analysis available

The blue “A” signal indicates that citing references in the Shepard’s Citations Service contain treatment of your case that is neither positive nor negative (for example, explained by).

Explained by—The citing opinion interprets or clarifies the case you are Shepardizing in a significant way.

Cited in Dissenting Opinion at—A dissenting opinion cites the case you are Shepardizing.

Interpreted or construed by—The citing opinion interprets the statute, rule or regulation you are Shepardizing in some significant way, often including a discussion of the statute’s legislative history.

Cited by: Citation information available

The blue “I” signal indicates that citing references are available in the Shepard’s Citations Service for your case, but the references do not have history or treatment analysis (for example, the references are law review citations).

Cited by—The citing document references the Shepardized cite.

 

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