Citing to the Record in Briefs

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My students are currently finishing up their briefs on summary judgment. We have been discussing the importance of citing to the court filings in a summary judgment motion setting. Here are the major rules from the 19th edition of the Bluebook regarding record citation. “B” here refers to the rules from the Bluepages at the beginning of the Bluebook.

B7.1.1—Abbreviation in General

When citing to other court filings in the same case, abbreviate the titles of those documents and cite a paragraph or page within the document. The 19th edition of the Bluebook permits a writer to choose to enclose the cite in parentheses or not. For now, my preference is to use the parentheses. (What do readers think about this change in form?)

Example: (Jefferson Aff. ¶ 2.) or Jefferson Aff. ¶ 2.

Cites to the record use an “R. at page number” format. Example: R. at 5. or (R. at 5.)

If the citation refers to the entire sentence, it comes after the period in the sentence. Place a period before the end parenthesis.

Refer to B7.1.4 regarding citation with PACER/ECF.

Example: The Plaintiff was driving a blue Ford. (Williams Aff. ¶ 7.)

If the citation only refers to part of the sentence, place the citation within the sentence immediately after the fact supported by the cite. Assuming the sentence contains two cites, place the period for the second citation after the parenthesis to emphasize that the second cite refers to the latter half of the sentence.

Example: Jones was in studying in Chicago (Jones Aff. ¶ 6), and Carson was visiting South Dakota (Carson Aff. ¶ 8).

Example 2: Smith did not observe anything unusual that day (Smith Aff. ¶¶ 2-3), and he received no phone calls from Jones (Jones Aff. ¶ 10). Notice the hyphen in this example to show citation to consecutive paragraphs.

BT.1: Abbreviating Titles of Court Documents

This list should be used in conjunction with B7.1.1 to abbreviate titles of court documents.

Words of more than six letters may also be abbreviated, even if the words do not appear in the list.

Omit articles and prepositions.

Other words in a document title may be omitted if the document can be unambiguously identified.

B7.1.2—Pinpoint Citations

Use a page, paragraph, or line as a pincite (do not use p. before a page number). Separate line and page references with a colon.

Other subdivisions such as paragraphs should be identified. Per Bluebook Rule 3.3(c), use more than one paragraph symbol to indicate multiple paragraphs. Do not put a space between the two symbols (see examples above).

It’s customary to use “at” with appellate record cites, but the 19th edition does not require “at” with other page number references in record cites.

B7.1.3—Date

Use a date to emphasize a significant date or when documents are otherwise indistinguishable, such as when the same person has provided multiple affidavits.

Example: (Elliot Aff. ¶ 7, March 9, 2012) and (Eliott Aff. ¶ 6, March 29, 2012)

B7.2—Short Forms

Use short forms as applicable after the long form is first given.

The Bluebook allows the use of id. with record cites. Id. should be underlined or italicized consistently with other cites in the brief.

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One Response to “Citing to the Record in Briefs”

  1. Natasha Baker-Bradley Says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for this helpful blog giving further clarification on the Bluebook.

    I recently had a disagreement with a coworker about the use of punctuation preceeding record citations in a compound sentence with compound citations (as in your “Jones lived in Chicago…” example above). While I agreed with your lack of commas preceeding the parantheses, my coworker did not, which led us to emailing the editors of the Bluebook to settle the issue.

    I thought you would like to know, so that your blog can be as accurate as possible, that the editor responded to me saying that he recommends the use of commas to offset the record citation in a compound sentence. For example: Jones went to school in Chicago, (R. at 5), but lived in Wisconsin, (R. at 8).

    Keep up the good work!

    Natasha

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