What Isn’t Available Using CM/ECF

By Paul Bush
February 1, 2007

As attorneys and other professional researchers continue to grow more comfortable with the improving technology for obtaining court case dockets and filings, they have come to expect instant comprehensive results using the Internet.

Since CM/ECF systems have been successfully implemented throughout the U.S., some researchers incorrectly assume that all case dockets and filings can be located and downloaded using CM/ECF.  It’s important to recognize that certain court case information is not presently contained within a CM/ECF database.  The following are not accessible using CM/ECF.

In addition to these small gaps in CM/ECF data, there are also still a few courts that do not participate in the PACER U.S. Party/Case Index case listing database.  The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits, and the New Mexico District Court are presently not included.  This is important to keep in mind when conducting nationwide litigation searches using this database.

While attorneys may not regularly need access to case information or dockets, it’s important to know what’s available online, and how to obtain it.  Why waste valuable time and money contracting a document retrieval company to obtain dockets and filings that are available online?

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