What is the difference between "Unpublished" and "Unreported" cases?

Although some people may use these two terms interchangeably, LexisNexis case law group views them as different types of cases.

Tip: When you are looking at a case, generally if there is a NOTICE segment, that case is unpublished. If there isn't a NOTICE segment, and if there is also no hardcopy cite, it is unreported.

Unpublished Case

An unpublished case is one where:

  • The court has placed a citation limitation on the opinion – there will typically be some language in the document that provides explicit instructions on when the case can and cannot be cited to, or a reference to a court rule that delineates that information
  • The court has rendered the opinion not citable
  • The court will not release the opinion to the public
  • LexisNexis has received the case from the court with a notice that it is unpublished

For unpublished cases, LexisNexis will typically have a notice on the case that the case is unpublished or not citable, where the language differs depending on how the court phrased it.

Unreported Case

An unreported case has not been published in a hard copy reporter series (like the West Regional and Federal Reporters – F.3d, N.E.2d, etc.).

It is possible to have a published case that is unreported – for instance, if the editors of the hard copy reporters have chosen to not include a case, but the court has not placed any limitations on the citation to or the publication status of the opinion.

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