Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Bluebook Blues

I’m not going to pretend that The Bluebook is not confusing—because it is.  And for every general rule I think I’ve learned, I always seem to later find an exception I didn’t know about.  Below are three “tricky” Bluebook rules:

1.       Case names—Case names are abbreviated pursuant to the abbreviations listed in Table 6 only in citation sentences.  If the case name is contained in the text of the sentence, the name is not abbreviated except for “widely known acronyms” and the words “&” “Ass’n,” “Bros.,” “Co.,” “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” and “No.” Bluepages Rule B4.1.1(vi).  For example:

          “[E]ven subject-matter jurisdiction may not be attacked collaterally.”  Travelers Indem. Co. v. Bailey, 557 U.S. 137, 152 (2009) (quoting Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 455 n.9 (2004)).

     The Supreme Court’s holding in Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Bailey, 557 U.S. 137 (2009), is narrow.

2.       Citations to Westlaw/Lexis—I often see errors with these citations.  The failure to include the docket number and the full date of the opinion are the most common errors in citations to unreported cases available on Westlaw or LexisNexis.

         Westlaw and LexisNexis cases are cited like other cases with the full case name, docket number, database, court name, and full opinion date. Bluebook  Rule 10.8.1  For example:

     The opinion is Wreyford v. Citizens for Transportation Mobility, Inc., No. 1:12-CV-2524-RLV, 2013 WL 3965244 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 1, 2013).

                   Pinpoint cites for unreported cases are slightly different than those for cited cases.  For unreported cases, you should put a comma after the database information then the word “at” and an asterisk before the page number.

          The court held that “[e]ven if commercial calls are more burdensome on average than non-commercial calls, under intermediate scrutiny, Congress is not required to use the least restrictive means of promoting the government interest….” Wreyford v. Citizens for Trans. Mobility, Inc., No. 1:12-CV-2524-RLV, 2013 WL 3965244, at *3 (N.D. Ga. Aug. 1, 2013).

3.       Numbers and superscript—“Second” is abbreviated “2d” and “third” is abbreviated “3d” (not 2nd or 3rd), and no superscripts should be used (e.g. 11th).  So,

          Courts consider more than just the defendant’s proximity to a firearm in determining if the defendant was in “possession” of the weapon. United States v. Benjamin, 711 F.3d 371 (3d Cir. 2013).*

              Appellate courts review a district court’s grant of summary judgment de novo, viewing all evidence and making all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Hulsey v. Pride Rests., LLC, 367 F.3d 1238, 1243 (11th Cir. 2004).

*“United States” is not abbreviated when it is a party to an action. Bluepages B4.1.1(v).

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