The "Federal Supplement" is a
case lawreporter published by West Publishingin the United Statesthat includes select opinions of the United States district courts. Though West is a private company that does not have a legal monopoly over the court opinions it publishes, it has so dominated the industry in the U.S. that legal professionals uniformly cite to the "Federal Supplement" for included decisions.
Features and print format
The "Federal Supplement" organizes court opinions within each volume by the date of the decision, and includes the full official text of the court's opinion. West editors add headnotes that summarize key principles of law in the cases, and Key Numbers that classify the decisions by topic within the
West American Digest System.
Only opinions designated by the courts as "for publication"—those with full
precedential value for which citation in court filings is permissible—are included in the "Federal Supplement". "Unpublished" decisions of the U.S. district courts are not included in any print reporter, but are typically available online from various commercial and public sources.
"Federal Supplement, Second Series"
The "Federal Supplement", including its supplementary material, is also available on
CD-ROMcompilations, and on West's online legal database, Westlaw. Because individual court cases are identified by case citations that consist of printed page and volume numbers, the electronic text of the opinions incorporates the page numbers of the printed volumes with "star pagination" formatting—the numbers are boldfaced within brackets and with asterisks prepended (i.e., [*4] ) to stand out from the rest of the text.
Though West has
copyrightover its original headnotes and keynotes, the opinions themselves are public domainand accordingly may found in other sources, chiefly Lexis, Westlaw's competitor. Lexis also copies the star paginated "Federal Supplement" numbering in their text of the opinions to allow for proper citation, a practice that was the subject of an unsuccessful copyright lawsuit by West against the parent company of Lexis. [See "Matthew Bender & Co. v. West Publ. Co.", 158 F.3d 693 (2d Cir. 1999).]
* [http://west.thomson.com/store/product.aspx?product_id=16008763 Official West Publishing site for the "Federal Supplement, 2d"]
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