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Citations to Unpublished Opinions in the Federal Courts of Appeals: Preliminary Report

Tim Reagan, Meghan A. Dunn, David Guth, Sean Harding, Andrea Henson-Armstrong, Laural L. Hooper, Marie Leary, Angelia N. Levy, Jennifer Evans Marsh, Robert J. Niemic
April 14, 2005
Available Online Only

The Appellate Rules Advisory Committee has proposed a new Rule 32.1, which would permit attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite unpublished opinions. At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would yield results helpful to the Standing Committee's consideration of the proposed rule.

The Center's research effort consists of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. This preliminary report, which includes analyses of all responses in the survey of judges, almost all of the responses in the survey of attorneys, and a majority of cases in the survey of case files (9 out of 13 circuits), was presented to the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee on April 18, 2005. The authors expect to have all data analyzed and a complete report for the Standing Committee on Rules meeting on June 15-16, 2005.