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Levin College of Law

Florida Case Law

This guide describes the structure of the state courts in Florida and explains how to find, validate, and cite court decisions.

Citators

It is important to always confirm that case law is still good law.  In other words, you must make sure that the court decision has not been overruled or otherwise limited directly or indirectly.  You use a CITATOR to determine if a decision remains valid and the extent to which it may have been criticized, distinguished, followed, explained, etc.

Shepard's Citator (Lexis)

Shepard's is the citator tool in Lexis Advance and Nexis Uni.  A case will be marked with one of the following signals.

The Shepard's signal appears to the left of the case name, and a Shepard's preview box appears to the right of the case in Lexis Advance:

Click on the Shepard's signal or the "Shepardize® this document" link (below the Shepard's Preview) to get the full Shepard's Report, which looks like this:

KeyCite Citator (Westlaw)

KeyCite is the citator tool in Westlaw.  Here is how it works:

Here is an example of a Florida state court case with a yellow KeyCite flag:

Click on the KeyCite flag to access additional KeyCite information.  If the KeyCite symbol is a yellow or red flag, clicking on the flag will pull up all Negative Treatment from subsequent authorities, which looks like this:

For even more information about the subsequent treatment of your case, click on the Citing References tab at the top of the page.  This will show all of the subsequent cases (as well as statutes and secondary sources, if any) that have cited to your case, whether negative, positive or neutral. 

BCite Citator (Bloomberg Law)

Bad Law Bot (Fastcase)