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Reporters and Case Citations

The first named plaintiff or petitioner and the first named defendant or respondent are listed as the case name. Surnames only are used for individuals.

The volume for a reporter is given first, then the abbreviation of the title. The page number of the volume on which the case first appears is next. This is followed, in parentheses, by the year or date the case was decided. Sometimes additional information, such as an abbreviation for the court issuing the opinion or a brief history of subsequent review, may be included.

Parallel cites are often included in a citation. These refer to the same case as reported in a different reporter. The Pacific Reporter is a parallel cite to cases for the Washington Reports and Washington Appellate Reports.

EXAMPLE A: Bedford v. Sugarman, 112 Wn.2d 500, 772 P.2d 486 (1989) The name of the case is "Bedford v. Sugarman" and appears in volume 112 of Washington Reports, 2d series, beginning on page 500. It was also reported in volume 772 of Pacific Reporter, 2d series, beginning on page 486. The case was decided in 1989.

EXAMPLE B: Jordan v. Gardner, 953 F.2d 1137 (9th Cir. 1992), reh'g granted 968 F.2d 984 (1992) The name of the case is "Jordan v. Gardner" and appears in volume 953 of the Federal Reporter, 2d series, beginning on page 1137. There is no parallel citation. The case was decided in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1992. An order granting a rehearing before an en banc panel of the court was reported in volume 968 of the Federal Reporter, 2d series, beginning on page 984. The rehearing was granted in 1992.


Generally the chapter or title number is listed first, then the subchapters, sections or parts.

EXAMPLE C: 5 U.S.C. 551(a) refers to title 5 of the United States Code, section 551(a).

EXAMPLE D: RCW 27.20.030 refers to title 27, chapter 20, section 030 of the Revised Code of Washington.

Rules of Citation

Rules for citation form may be found in: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation [the Maroon Book]

Sources for Abbreviations

Accepted abbreviations for legal materials may be found in various publications, such as:
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
Price, Bitner and Bysiewicz, Effective Legal Research
Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations
Style Sheet for Washington Reports
by the Office of the Administrator for the Courts for the Washington State Judiciary

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