The Trellis Database aggregates civil litigation case documents from Dockets all over the country. There are four main methods of accessing/obtaining case documents on Trellis:
(1) Smart Search Documents tab (free)
(2) "View Document" / "View Tentative Ruling" Buttons (free)
(3) "Get Document Buttons" (some documents are free, others aren't)
(4) Document Thumbnail buttons (some free, some not)
(1) Smart Search Documents Tab (Free)
Every document that you can find through Smart Search in the Documents tab is included in your subscription. These are free for you to access. We have hundreds of millions of searchable, filed documents that are free for our users.
(2) “View Document” / “View Tentative Ruling” Buttons on Court Dockets (Free)
When you navigate to a court Docket on Smart Search, you may see a “View Document” or “View Tentative Ruling” button next to certain docket entries. Clicking these buttons will display the document/tentative ruling to you immediately. These are also free for you to access.
(3) “Get Document” Buttons on Court Dockets (Free/For Purchase)
On Docket pages, you may also see a “Get Document” button next to certain docket entries. Clicking this button will prompt us to “fetch” the document for you from the county court website and email it to you.
Some of these documents are free depending on your subscription plan (LASC and Cook County).
Some county documents aren't free -- these documents must be purchased, but you can do so directly on our site.
Accessing free documents:
Get Document button in LASC or Cook County: More specifically, clicking on the “Get Document” button for Los Angeles Superior Court (CA) and Circuit Court of Cook County (IL) cases will prompt us to manually “fetch” the document for you from the county court website. Our team will download the document and email it to you within four business hours or less.
🔎 These counties charge a fee for these documents from their system, but we’re covering the cost to provide you additional value. The number of Los Angeles and Cook County IL documents you may request for free depends on your subscription tier. To increase your tier, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing purchase documents:
Get Document button NOT in LASC or Cook County: Clicking on the “Get Document” button (in any county other than Los Angeles or Cook County) will lead to a “Purchase Document” pop-up which displays the cost of the document. If you confirm the purchase, this will prompt us to automatically “fetch” the document for you from the county. The document pdf will then be e-mailed to you within minutes. The list of states and counties for which we support filed document purchases can be found here.
🔎 While we cover the cost of LASC and Cook County documents, for other counties that require us to purchase documents, we have to pass the cost of these documents through to our users. It’s simply too expensive for us to acquire them on your behalf and provide them to you for free.
Crowd Sourced Library!
Both free and paid documents acquired through the “Get Document” button are added to our crowd-sourced library. In other words, any filed document that any user obtains through the “Get Document” button becomes live and searchable on our site (and free for other users) within 24 hours. This means you’re also benefiting from any document that was “fetched” by other users!
(4) Document Thumbnail Buttons on Court Dockets (Free/For Purchase)
When you navigate to a court Docket on Smart Search, you may also see a list of Document Thumbnails with document titles and filing dates under the “Case Documents” heading. In this area, we’ve simply listed all of the downloadable documents on a Docket for your ease of access. Clicking on any of these Document Thumbnails will function identically to clicking any of the buttons listed above (including “View Document,” “View Tentative Ruling,” and “Get Document”), depending on the document type.
In other words, if a document is already part of our database, clicking the thumbnail will open the document immediately for you to use for free (like the “View Document” and “View Tentative Ruling” buttons).
If we have to go to the county court website to “fetch” the document for you, clicking the thumbnail will either (1) prompt us to “fetch” you a Los Angeles Superior Court and/or Circuit Court of Cook County for free, or (2) prompt you to purchase the document for a fee upon confirmation (i.e., like the “Get Document” button).