Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Iqbal Impact Update

Now, a little more than six months after the USSC issued its opinion in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the impact of the decision is still being felt. Readers of this blog may recall a previous post indicating that Iqbal was arguably the most important case decided last term. That statement was based on the fact that Iqbal promised to have a systemic effect. To date Iqbal has not disappointed. It has been cited frequently by federal courts. A quick check using KeyCite shows -

1. A total of 7032 documents (cases, briefs, treatises, articles, etc.) have cited Iqbal.

2. Headnote 12, the headnote that deals with the new threshold test - to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face - i.e., the new "plausibility" test, has been cited by 2789 federal courts apparently for the purpose of examining plaintiff's case for possible dismissal.

3. Headnote 12 has also been cited by four state courts and one tribal court for the same proposition. States that have rules of civil procedure based on the FRCP may be moving to adoption of Iqbal or at least some consideration of the the viability of the Iqbal plausibility requirement to state procedural analysis.

Of course, Iqbal is a complex case that deals with many issues not the least of which is governmental liability. We can't tell without a close examination of all 2789 federal cases that apply Iqbal if it is being used solely as a means to dismiss cases. More likely, it is being used even-handedly to weed out factually weak cases. Regardless, it seems clear that every future Memorandum in support of a 12(b)(6) motion will have to cite it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lexis Apps On Your iPhone

That's right. After Westlaw made Black's Dictionary into an iPhone app, Lexis has decided to do the same with Get a Document and Shepardize. Mixed reviews but it seems to be another step forward.

BTW, the iPhone app for Black's costs $49.99. The iPhone app for Shepard's is FREE as long as you have a valid Lexis ID and password.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

LII Posts a Response to Berring

Last week's post highlighted a WestCast video of Bob Berring talking about how commercial resources will endure while volunteer legal resources, like Cornell LII, will not. Well. Here's LII's measured response posted on YouTube. You might be interested in subscribing to the LII blog, here. There is also a post by Paul Lomio on the Stanford blog Legal Research Plus about his Advanced Legal Research class and the similarities of Bob Berring and Tom Bruce, here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Berring on Free Legal Resources

Here's a link to a short video of an interview with Bob Berring about the future of free legal resources. West posted it on YouTube and maintains a link to it from their blog here. If you read through the comments at the end of this post, make sure you get all the way to the end. Apparently, there will be another beer summit in D.C. in the near future.

Free resources are here to stay, voluntary or not. It is impossible to disagree with Berring about the value of the editorial features on both West and Lexis but the use of low cost / no cost resources may be the only way to stay alive in the current market. Watch the video for yourself and see what you think.

West has been making some interesting posts lately including one about how cases and headnotes are edited and published. If you are interested in developments in legal research you might be interested in setting up an RSS feed to their blog, Legal Current.