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Dockets and Court Filings: State Courts

This guide is designed to help users navigate dockets to locate filings in ongoing or past cases in federal and state courts.

State Court Filings

Unlike federal courts, which have a largely unified filing database, each state maintains a separate filing and docket system. This page will help you locate state court dockets.

Try Lexis+ or Westlaw

Lexis Advance CourtLink and Westlaw both have some state court docket filings, but their coverage is limited. Here is how to find each database's coverage.

  • Westlaw
    • Select the relevant state from the homescreen.
    • Scroll down to the categories Briefs and Trial Court Documents.
    • On any of the linked pages, click the circled i symbol to learn what years are covered.
    • Note that not every jurisdiction will have documents, and jurisdictions will not have comprehensive coverage.
  • Lexis+
    • Select CourtLink from the product switcher in the top left of the homescreen.
    • Under the "within" dropdown menu, click Court Information.
    • Select the relevant court to find coverage information.

Docket Alarm via Fastcase

The Law Library now subscribes to an integration between Fastcase and DocketAlarm. Students may access the database through the law library catalog and search within Fastcase's available state and federal court dockets at no additional charge to them.

Similar to Lexis CourtLink, students are not able to track a docket, request a docket to be updated on-demand, or request a document not already available in the database. 

Go Directly to the Court

First, identify the court from which you need dockets. State judiciaries have varied court structures, and courts do not necessarily follow naming patterns (e.g., New York "Supreme Courts" handle jury trials, while New York's "Court of Appeals" is their court of last resort).

Once you know which court you are looking for, you can go straight to that court's website. Most court websites have information about finding court filings.

States may not label their filings as "dockets." Filing information may be under pages like "EFiling," "Search for Cases," "Court Record Search," or others.

You may need to contact the court clerk directly to request a court filing. 

Lawyers, librarians, and all types of researchers often call the court clerk for help locating or retrieving documents. Since systems very widely from state-to-state and court-to-court, reaching out (politely) by phone or email is a valuable tool to get the resources you need. 

Find a Holding Library

Many law libraries hold local state records and briefs in their collections. For example, the Michigan Law Library maintains the Michigan Supreme Court's Records and Briefs.

Additionally, many major law school libraries create research guides explaining local legal research in plain language. Search for [state] docket research guide to see if there is an existing jurisdiction guide.

Journal Editors

If you are source-gathering for an article, you are encouraged to reach out to your author to locate a filing. They may have already pulled documents that are not easily accessible.

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Request Help from the Library

If you have tried all of these options and not been able to locate a docket filing, fill out the form below for assistance from the Law Library. We cannot guarantee that we will find the document for you, but we will help you figure out next steps.