Legal Research Class Notes 9/4/03


We need to look at Rule 10.  Cases weren’t cited right.  You can’t trust what’s in the annotations because each state does it differently and they mostly do it wrong.


Follow the Bluebook!


The trickiest part of citing to a case is what goes in the parentheses.  All the answers are in the handy dandy…Bluebook!


There’s a case against Poland Springs bottled water, where it says on the label it isn’t spring water at all.  The action is for false advertising.  How would a regulation inform a court’s decision into this case?  The FDA defines what “spring water” is.  They say that spring water is water that “bubbles up from the ground to the surface”.  But the FDA doesn’t give you the nitty gritty of how far it has to bubble up or how far you have to dig.  The regulations aren’t clear enough!  It’s getting adjudicated.


Another example: Craig Kilbourn can’t do a skit about Arnold Swarzenegger because of FCC equal time regulations.  News shows are specifically excluded (including Entertainment Tonight!).


Regulations are everywhere!  Some would say that many regulations are ridiculous!


We shall finish regulations today.


We already did formats for CFR and FR.


There’s a website that you can use to access authoritative versions of CFR and FR: it’s at  Check it out!


Finding regulations


·        Look in the official index to CFR and FR.

·        Look in the CIS index to CFR.

·        Check out Lexis or Westlaw.

·        Click on

·        Look into looseleaf services, which are usually tax-related.

·        USCA and USCS provide cross references to regulations.


Finding case law


·        Print – use annotations under the USCS or USCA or use looseleaf services.

·        Electronic – Lexis, Westlaw, or another source.


Updating regulations


This is tough!  There are no pocket parts!  The regulations come out so often that they just publish a whole new CFR each time.


1.     Check the revision date on the front cover of the CFR.

2.     Find the latest issue of the List of CFR Sections Affected.

3.     Finally, look at the latest issue of the Federal Register under Reader Aids, CFR Parts Affected.


But look out!  The Federal Register is two weeks behind!


State regulations


·        Most states have an administrative code and register.  Lexis and Westlaw are good sources for these.

·        Ohio has the Ohio Administrative Code, which is annotated.  Ohio also has the Ohio Monthly Record which contains final and emergency rules.


Court rules


Rules cover civil actions, criminal actions, appeals, evidence and special proceedings (e.g. family matters and probate).


Federal court rules


Rules of General Application include the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence.


Attorney General opinions


·        These are important at the state level, because the Attorney General advises units of government.  The Attorney General’s opinions are quasi-regulatory – they are be used as authoritative statements of law by agencies and courts.

·        These opinions are less important at the federal level.




What is another name for a regulation?  A rule!


What is the difference between the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations?  The Federal Register is chronological, while the Code of Federal Regulations is arranged by subject.


What is a parallel citation?  When a certain case takes places in a state court is also printed in a regional reporter, you see the reference to the location of the case in the regional reporter.


Where would I find a proposed regulation?  It would be found in the Federal Register.


Where do we look for an authoritative definition of a word or phrase in a statute?  In the definitions section of the statute?


Why would it be better to use the annotated version of a code?  The annotated version has notes, while the code is the real, actual, official version.


A hypothetical research task into federal regulations


The Code of Federal Regulations is organized a lot like the U.S. Code.  For example, if you saw 21 C.F.R. § 101 (2003), you’d go to Volume 21 and go find section 101.


We notice that our section is only good through April 1st.  We need to look into the List of Sections Affected.  We find that there is a nomenclature change, and we’ve given a page number reference in the Federal Register.  It’s a really big page number!!!


The stuff we’ve done so far is located in the Reserve Room in the library.  The Federal Register is in the same aisle as the USCA and USCCAN.  You’ll see them in thin white books.  There are lots of them because they come out every day.


We don’t see anything about trans fatty acids, but this only takes us through May.  We need to go to the last Federal Register issued in the month after May.  We check out what Code of Federal Regulations parts were affected in June.  No changes there!  But we’re not done.  You check July, and find a change but not a relevant change.


But when you check on GPO Access, you find a very recent update.  It indicates the trans fatty acid information will have to go on the label as of January 1st, 2006.


Here comes the next assignment.


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