How do I find and research filed trial court documents?
Table of Contents
- What Is the "Documents" Tab on the Smart Search Results Page?
- Searching for Documents on Smart Search
- Filtering Document Search Results
- Sorting Document Search Results
- Contents of a Document Page
- Case Metadata Links on Document Pages
- Downloading, Printing or Sharing Document Pages
What Is the “Documents” Tab on the Smart Search Results Page?
Every civil litigation case has a case docket, which is a formal record in which a judge or court clerk notes all of the proceedings and filings in a court case. The docket lists the judge, parties, attorneys of record, as well as every document filed in the case and the date it was filed. These documents include all materials filed in relation to the case, including pleadings, motions, memoranda, briefs, declarations, and court rulings/orders.
The Trellis Database aggregates civil litigation case documents from Dockets all over the country and makes them searchable and accessible from a single interface. You may access case documents by running a search query using our Smart Search function and then clicking on the Documents tab. The body and text of documents are searchable on Trellis, not just the title, which means you can find information that you would never know existed if you only used the actual county court website.
Searching for Documents on Smart Search
- Enter the keywords you want into the Smart Search search bar at the top of the Trellis homepage (such as your legal issue, motion type, judge, opposing counsel, etc.).
- Use Boolean operators with your keywords to focus your search, such as AND or OR.
- Select one or more states you want to search in (CA, NY, TX, etc.) using the dropdown menu to the right of the search bar. When you have a particular state selected, you are searching across the state trial courts of that state.
- Click on the Documents tab to review the results of your search.
🌎 Don’t forget to check our Coverage page to see which states and counties we cover, including which counties currently have documents on Trellis. We acquire new data and jurisdictions daily. If we currently do not have the county you need, please request it here. We use these requests to prioritize new counties.
Filtering Document Search Results
After running your search query, you may also filter based on Practice Area, Motion Type, Outcome, Entry Type, Judge, and County using the filters on the left hand column:
💡 If you wish to find case documents for a specific judge, we recommend adding “AND judge:last-name” or the judge’s full name in quotation marks (e.g., “Michael Linfield”) to your search query.
Sorting Document Search Results
By default, Documents are sorted by Most Relevant (see below).
Documents may also be sorted by Newest to Oldest. Newest to Oldest sorts Documents into reverse chronological order by filing date.
Contents of a Document Page
The entire document is viewable and searchable so you may assess whether it’s relevant to your needs or whether you need to view a different document:
Case Metadata Links on Document Pages
On every one of our pages (including Document pages), you’ll find valuable case metadata for the case that the filed document, ruling, or docket page is related to:
- Wherever you see a link to a judge, clicking the link will bring you to the Judge’s Biography and/or Judge Analytics.
- Wherever you see a link to a case number, clicking the link will bring you to the court Docket for the case.
- Wherever you see a link to a party name (which includes individual litigants as well as their attorneys), clicking the link will run a search for this party across the jurisdiction you have selected. Clicking on a party will help you find any other litigation the party has been involved in, both historically and pending.
Downloading, Printing or Sharing Document Pages
When viewing a document, you may click “Download Document” to download the document in PDF format.
Alternatively, you may click “Print Document” to print the document or save it to a different format.
Lastly, you may even share a document with other Trellis users (or non-users) by clicking “Share Document” (otherwise referred to as our Envelope feature) and entering the email address of the person you would like to share the Document with.