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Introduction to "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation": Case Name

Quick References

Case Names
General Rules.......................R10.2.1
Additional Rules....................R10.2.2
Case Name Abbreviations.............T6

Blue Pages Case Names..........B4.1.1

Typeface Conventions

Law Review Footnotes: name in regular typeface

Textual Sentence: italicize name

Short Cites:  italicize name

Procedural Phrases: In re and ex rel. are always italicized, regardless of cite location

General Rules for Case Names

The case name occurs at the beginning of the citation. There are a different kinds of party names, and the type of name will determine format. Some common examples for law review footnotes are given below:

Individual Person - Only use the last name, omitting any job title or descriptive terms.

Burns v. McMillen
Not: Burns v. McMillen, Administrator

Company/Organization - Use entire business name, omitting alternate names, and abbreviate and/or omit words where possible.

Wis. Packing Co. v. Ind. Refrigerator Lines, Inc.
Not: Wisconsin Packing Co., Inc. d/b/a Packing Co. v. Indiana Refrigerator Lines, Inc.

Multiple PartiesOnly cite the first party on each side and omit words indicating multiple parties. Do not omit portions of a partnership name.

Fry v. Mayor of Sierra Vista
Not: Fry v. Mayor & City Counsel of Sierra Vista
But: Eisen v. Spradlin, Lincoln & Amorosi

Two Case Names - Use the first case name listed in a consolidated case.

Shelley v. Kraemer
Not: Shelley v. Kraemer, McGhee v. Sipes

Geographical Names - Omit "State/Commonwealth/People of" except when citing decisions from courts of that state. State court decisions should only retain "State/Commonwealth/People." Omit prepositional phrases of location unless the phrase begins a party name, is part of the full name of a business, or the omission would leave only one word in the party's name.

Blystone v. Pennsylvania, 494 U.S. 299 (1990).
Blystone v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 494 U.S. 299 (1990).
But: Commonwealth v. Ferrone, 448 A.2d 673 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1982).

Mayor of New York v. Clinton
Not: Mayor of the City of New York v. Clinton
But: Butts v. City of New York

Surrick v. Bd. of Wardens
Not: Surrick v. Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia
But: Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey

Case Name Abbreviations

What should you abbreviate when referring to a case in a citation sentence?

  • Words in Table 6 and Rule 10.2.1(c)
  • Common acronyms in Rule 6.1(b) (e.g. NAACP, FCC)
  • Procedural phrases (e.g. In re, ex rel.)
  • "United States" and geographical units listed in Table 10 UNLESS the geographical unit is the entire name of the party

Ctr. for Nat'l Sec. Studies v. U.S. Dep't of Justice
Alvarez-Machain v. United States

What should you abbreviate when referring to a case in a textual sentence?

  • Words listed in Rule 10.2.1(c)
  • Common acronyms in Rule 6.1(b) (e.g. NAACP, FCC)
  • Procedural phrases (e.g. In reex rel.)


Remember, only abbreviate case names cited in citation sentences. Case names should be written out in full within a textual sentence, abbreviating only widely known acronyms.