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When is it appropriate to cite case law?


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I read a lot about this on the forums, and I just finished reading common law wiki, and attorney views on citing CA case law, and from what i gather, it is beneficial to cite case law *from your jurisdiction*

 

some questions:

 

1. is citing federal law ever useful?

 

2. basically, being in CA, the following seem to be the most applicable as precedents:

-similar rulings by a particular judge

-CA appellate court rulings

-CA supreme court rulings

is there a hierarchy to these? are any California appellate court rulings equally applicable or should they be from my district?

 

3. pretty much as these JDB cases go, most of the useful statewide rulings have already been cited here and obviously i need to actually read and understanding the rulings forward and backward. Is it really worth doing much more research at the appelate/state level beyond this? most JDB cases seem to be relatively cut-and-dry.

 

4. Apart from that the legwork is in doing my own research on my particular county, right? unfortunately we are rural and they closed the law library, i have no idea how to research case law other than paying the clerk to produce documents on a given case. any ideas? clerks havent been any help. All ive been able to do is search tenetave rulings using internet archive's wayback machine to search last few years. so far ive found one Midland case, one Unifund case,a few other random JDBs like FIA card services, USA Financial Marketing, Palisades Collection, Pinnacle Credit Services, Worldwide Asset Purchasing, National Business Factors). We have a case management conference coming up so i will try to pull the midland and unifund cases and any other you guys recommend while I'm at the court

 

thanks

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also, from the "Midland Credit represented by Jerold Kaplan" thread:

 

You can reference federal cases... make sure they are binding - like those that are published in your District (AZ), the Appellate Circuit (9th) or the Supreme Court.

 

Cases from other districts or circuits are not binding, but can be persuasive and the court can take them under advisement - but don't carry the same weight...

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Usually citations from federal courts are not binding on state courts.  Check the hierarchy of courts in your state.  In my state, we have one appeals that hears all appeals.  I don't know if other states' county courts each have their own appeals court.  You could cite a case from your court, your appeals court, and state supreme court.

 

If there's no precedent on a particular issue that would be binding in your court, you could cite cases from other county courts or other states that might be persuasive. 

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When are case law cites useful

In your initial answers to their complaint.

when they ask for certain discovery, especially if they ask for your financial records before a judgment is entered against you.

Any time they bring up a case law cite, use one that contradicts what theirs says.

Any time during court when you feel the need to express what other courts have ruled.

Any time you make an objection to the court.

Any time they try to present a document as evidence.

Basically any time you disagree and there is case law to support why you disagree.

 

Federal case law from other circuits may not be binding on the court you are in but it can be helpful to persuade the court.

 

Case law from other states may not be binding but may be helpful to persuade the court.

 

The most powerful case law is from the court your are in.

 

Your states Supreme court case law weighs in heavy also.

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I never heard of anybody using case law in an answer to a complaint. Case law is typically used in a memorandum of law in support of a motion or an objection to a motion. We generally have all the case law you will need anyway, but if you want to do some research use Google Scholar. Any decision from the US Supreme Court is binding on any court. Next would be the US District Court for your area, which is the 9th Circuit. It would be helpful if it was a credit card case. Next would be the Supreme Court and Appellate Court for your state, then the Superior Court decisions. These are fairly simple cases to run, you don't need a lot of case law in most instances. If you do, we have it. (not me necessarily, i'm not much for California law)

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Next would be the US District Court for your area, which is the 9th Circuit.

 

Federal court decisions are not binding on state courts. 

 

 

Any decision from the US Supreme Court is binding on any court.

 

I always forget to add that.  Darn it! 

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Any time there is an argument in court that you need to win, use case law to support it.

 

I have seen case law in answers, depends on how the complaint was worded.

 

I got a complaint that was so screwed up i used some case law from my state to get it dismissed before I even answered it......The plaintiff was pro se and wanted his tow truck back,,,,,ya'll know the case...well the Gunny still has a tow truck.

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Federal court decisions are not binding on state courts.

 

 

Hmmm. Didn't know that. The SCOTUS is a federal court, so why would theirs be binding and not the District Court? I would think it would have to be the right district, and it would have to be a ruling that dealt with the subject at hand. For instance, if you claimed illegal interest per 12 USC 85, you could cite the Smiley type cases for the 9th circuit. At any rate, it should be more persuasive that some Superior Court decision. This stuff is hard enough to find as it is, gotta take what you can get!

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Federal court decisions are not binding on state courts.

 

 

Hmmm. Didn't know that. The SCOTUS is a federal court, so why would theirs be binding and not the District Court? I would think it would have to be the right district, and it would have to be a ruling that dealt with the subject at hand. For instance, if you claimed illegal interest per 12 USC 85, you could cite the Smiley type cases for the 9th circuit. At any rate, it should be more persuasive that some Superior Court decision. This stuff is hard enough to find as it is, gotta take what you can get!

 

The reason federal court decisions are not binding on state courts is because they involve federal law, not state law.   However, it would seem possible that if a federal court ruling somehow involved a state law, the ruling would at least be persuasive.

 

Yes, the SCOTUS is a federal court, but they also deal with state issues.

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All courts, state and federal, must abide by SCOTUS because per Art VI, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and SCOTUS is the final interpreter of the Constitution.  Some state courts give deference to rulings by the federal courf of appeals for their circuit depending on the issues; some do not.  State courts cannot violate the Constitution,but they can give greater protection if their legislature has so provided.  In "Hazelwood,"SCOTUS years ago gave schools  more authority to regulate the content of school newspapers.  Some state courts, however, have ignored that decision and per their own state law, have given students more freedom of expression.

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