The Courts create a docket for each case file. Entries are added to the case docket sheet as records are filed in the case. Dockets include: case file number, party name(s), dates, and documents filed. They can provide an overview of what happened within a case. Additional information may be available by time period, court type, and court location. They can range in the number of pages from one to many.


Dockets from the Court of Appeals are unique because they contain a list of documents filed in the Appellate Court as well as case information from the lower court. Cases in the Court of Appeals do not have a jury and do not allow the addition of new evidence. They examine how the law was interpreted and applied in a lower court case.


Let’s look at a couple of docket examples from the Federal District Courts. Dockets can include unexpected research clues and point to where to look next.



U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Caption: Page 1 of Appeals case docket 85-5342, Trade Waste Management v. Robert Hughey, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection of the State of New Jersey



U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Caption: Appeals case docket 86-1791, Caribbean Tubular Corporation, Plaintiff, Appellee v. Herminio Fernandez Torrecillos, et al., Defendants, Appellants


The docket includes the Court of Appeals case file number as well as the formal citation from the Federal Reporter. Oftentimes, the Federal Reporter citation can be used to locate the published opinion from the case file. The Federal Reporter does not include any other filings in the case, e.g., Brief, Appendices, correspondence, etc.


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