Search Result Tabs on Smart Search

"Rulings" Tab on the Smart Search Results Page

Judges issue rulings throughout a case. How do I find rulings issued by my judge?

Rulings Search/Page - Watch Video

Table of Contents

  1. What Is the "Rulings" Tab?
  2. Searching for CA Tentative Rulings
  3. Sorting Ruling Search Results
  4. Filtering Ruling Search Results
  5. Downloading, Printing or Sharing Tentative Rulings
  6. Case Metadata & Related Links on Ruling Pages
  7. Why Can't I Access Non-CA Tentative Rulings
  8. Searching for Non-CA Rulings

What Is the “Rulings” Tab on the Smart Search Results Page?

In California, civil state trial court judges have the option of issuing tentative rulings on specific motions prior to motion hearings.  

What is a Tentative Ruling?  A tentative ruling is a preliminary ruling that states how a court intends to rule on a specific motion, and courts may modify or reverse tentative rulings prior to issuing their final ruling, hence the term “tentative.” Tentative rulings are usually posted on the court’s website at least 24 hours prior to each law and motion hearing for civil cases, but are usually taken down from the court’s website after several days. 

The Trellis database aggregates all tentative rulings in California and makes them keyword searchable from a single interface, preserving this valuable judicial data and case intel.  

You may access these rulings by running a search query on the Smart Search tab. Smart Search will search the text of state trial court tentative rulings and return results based on your search query.


Search Judge Tentative Rulings - CA - Watch Video


Searching for California Tentative Rulings

  1. 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.).

  2. Use Boolean operators with your keywords to focus your search, such as AND or OR.

  3. Be sure to select California as the state you want to search in on the dropdown menu to the right of the search bar.  When you have CA selected, you are searching across the state trial courts in CA.  

  4. Click on the Rulings tab to review the results of your search and navigate to any rulings that interest you.     

Sorting Ruling Search Results

By default, Rulings are sorted by Most Relevant (see below).

Rulings may also be sorted by Newest to Oldest. Newest to Oldest sorts Rulings into reverse chronological order by filing date.


Filtering Ruling Search Results

After running your search query, you may filter based on Case Type, Judge, and County using the filters on the left hand column:


💡 If you wish to find tentative rulings by 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. 

Downloading, Printing, or Sharing Tentative Rulings

When viewing a tentative ruling, you may click “Download Ruling” to download the ruling in PDF format.  

Alternatively, you may click “Print Ruling” to print the ruling or save it to a different format. 

Lastly, you may even Share a Ruling with other Trellis users or non-users by clicking “Share Ruling” (otherwise referred to as our Envelope feature) and entering in the email address of the person you would like to share the Ruling with. 


Case Metadata & Related Links on Ruling Pages

On every one of our pages (including tentative rulings), you’ll find valuable case metadata for the case that the filed document, ruling, or docket page relates 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.

Why Can't I Access Tentative Rulings in Other States Outside of California?

The Tentative Rulings tab is only available for California searches because the tentative ruling procedure only exists in California!  (See California Rules of Court, rule 3.1308 and other California local rules.)  

Searching for Non-California Rulings

To search for rulings in states outside of CA, we recommend adding the keywords (decision OR order) to the end of your search query on Smart Search, then clicking on the Documents tab to find rulings or orders.  See below for a sample search in FL: