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I've been wondering what case law is usable at the county Circuit court level. Specifically, can a litigant reference ANY higher courts decisions as precedent? For instance, I live Missouri & as such we are under the U.S. Court of Appeals For The Eighth Circuit. Could you use a ruling from say, the first district to argue precedent in my Missouri county circuit court, or do I HAVE to stay within the eighth?

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Anything outside your Appeals district can be used, but it would be persuasive and not binding on the court...

For example, Pintos decision regarding credit report access is binding on every court in the 9th Circuit. It would be persuasive and non-binding in MO.

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Exactly what are you looking for? Sometimes there is specific case law and sometimes not. These aren't murder trials, 95% of the people never even show up for court. "Hierarchy" IMHO would go like this:

US Supreme Court

US Court of appeals, 8th District

MO Supreme Court

MO Court of Appeals

MO Superior Court

Supreme Courts of other states

Appeals Courts, other states

Superior courts, other states

You can use Google Scholar, advanced search, and select the courts you want. It would help if you said what particular thing you are researching. Many of us already have case law. There are not many credit card cases in the higher courts.

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From what I've read, case law is based upon state courts and federal courts. Federal courts hear issues based upon federal law. State courts hear issues based upon state law.

If you're being sued in a state court that does not hear federal issues, only the published decisions of higher state courts, such as your state Supreme Court, are binding precedent.

A decision made by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is related to a federal issue that was heard in a federal court in a particular state. If you're being sued in a state court, the decision made by a federal court is persuasive but not binding.

However, a decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court is binding in both federal and state courts.

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Exactly what are you looking for?

I've found case law that I figured could be referenced in my case. Problem is some of it is in other districts. I wasn't sure how (or if) it applied to my jurisdiction.

Anything outside your Appeals district can be used, but it would be persuasive and not binding on the court...

gave me what I was looking for. Yeah I can use it, but it's persuasive not binding to the court.

Persuasive is still better than nothing. xdancex

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If you're being sued in a state court, the decision made by a federal court is persuasive but not binding.

REALLY? I've always assumed ALL lower courts were bound by their direct chain of hierarchy.

In my case:

US Supreme Court

US Court of appeals, 8th District

MO Supreme Court

MO Court of Appeals

MO Superior Court

Supreme Courts of other states

Appeals Courts, other states

Superior courts, other states

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State courts are not in the hierarchy of federal courts. It's about federal law and state law. A federal court doesn't hear a state court issue. If your state has a particular law that has nothing to do with federal law, a case involving that law would not be heard in a federal court.

That's why credit card suits are brought in state courts. Credit cards agreements even mention that the terms are governed by the laws of a particular state. It's not a federal issue.

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"Hierarchy" is not binding. It just means that a certain higher court made a decision. Binding decisions are from the US Supreme Court and the forum state Supreme Court / Court of Appeals. Anything else is useful but not binding. Even the US District Court decisions may not be binding because they were appealed from local federal courts where credit card cases are not heard. I think the only thing you'd find there related to CC cases would be FDCPA or FCRA cases. Oddly enough, there are plenty of state supreme court decisions in CC cases. These are very persuasive, these banks are federal, they sue all over the country and use case law from 50 states to make their cases. Turnabout is fair play. You still haven't told us the issue you are researching. What is it?

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This is from the Michigan Supreme Court:

"Although state courts are bound by the decisions of the United States Supreme Court construing federal law, there is no similar obligation with respect to decisions of the lower federal courts." Abela v. Gen. Motors Corp., 469 Mich. 603, 606, 677 N.W.2d 325 (2004)

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You still haven't told us the issue you are researching. What is it?

I'm not researching any issue specifically. A friend of mine & I got into a discussion over one of my cases and this issue came up generically. When we started trying to research an answer, we couldn't find anything.

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