Did you know that it is possible to search and access federal dockets for free? All you need to do is go to Justia Dockets and Filings.  This web site allows you to search by party name, judge, court and date. The archive goes back to 2004. It is worth a try. However, at this time only select documents may be available for your case. Fortunately the Justia website does offer an option to subscribe to an RSS-Feed which will  update you  whenever new documents have been added.  All you need to do us to identify the orange symbol   next to the docket info, create an RSS-feed option and follow this docket report by RSS.  You may want to check out  this video snippet “RSS-feed in plain English” on YouTube if you do not know how to subscribe to this feature.

Remember, this is a free website.  They have documents listed because someone downloaded the document from Pacer and forwarded it to Justia.

You may therefore want to consider searching via PACER whenever you need to be sure that you have all the entries on a particular case.  PACER is an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district and bankruptcy courts for a nominal fee.  According to the website “Access to court documents costs $0.10 per page. The cost to access a single document is capped at $3.00, the equivalent of 30 pages. The cap does not apply to name searches, reports that are not case-specific and transcripts of federal court proceedings. By Judicial Conference policy, if your usage does not exceed $15 in a quarter, fees for that quarter are waived, effectively making the service free for most users” at Pacer. For the law school community, Bloomberg Law will often be the preferred source for docket information.

In Re: National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL-2323 consolidates the lawsuits involving professional football players injured while playing football.  We decided to compare and contrast the entry in Pacer with the entry on Justia Dockets and Filings.   On Pacer, there are 60 entries compared to one entry on Justia.  The most current document on Pacer is from 4/16/2012 while the most current entry on Justia is from 1/31/2012.  This indicates that you need to show caution when retrieving information from Justia.

Mark Kloempken and Tove Klovning