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How to Find Cases

If you are new to legal research:

Work on your search terms. 

  • Pick a sector in the hospitality industry and think about the similar terms
    • Lodging (hotel, motel, inn, vacation rentals, resorts, etc.) 
    • Food service (restaurants, café, catering, fine dining, casual dining, bars, etc.) 
    • Travel and tourism (airlines, cruise, buses, parks, theme parks, etc.)
    • Clubs, sporting and recreational camps, community centers, etc. 
    • Meetings, banquets, conventions, events, etc. 
  • Pick an area in the hospitality operation, such as contracts, negligence, employment, security, etc.
    • Look up the textbook or other course material to find the right terms. 
  • Or, pick a name of a party (such as a hotel name)
  • Combine the search terms. 
    • To connect similar terms for the same concept, use the Boolean Operator OR 
    • To connect different concepts, use AND
      “breach of contract” AND (hotel OR motel OR inn OR B&B OR resort OR lodging) 
      (ADA OR "Americans with Disabilities Act") AND (restaurant OR café OR catering OR bars OR club)  

      "data security" AND the hotel name

Choose a platform to find cases. 
Print sources (the "Reporters"), databases, search engines, and other websites are available to find cases.

Google Scholar 

  1. Choose the “Case Law” on the main page on the homepage  
  2. Decide whether to look up a federal level or state level. If you want all results, skip this step.
  3. Enter and connect the search terms 
    Google Scholar Screenshot 1
  4. On the left menu, customize the date range (e.g., from 2014 to 2016) 
    Google Scholar Screenshot: Custom Date Range
  5. On the search results page,
    1. Click on the title for the full text to read 
    2. Click on the How Cited to see what other cases cited the case. 
  6. To cite the case, click on the "Supreme Court Case No..." link. On the search results page at Google Scholar, click on the quotation mark on the bottom of the case record. Copy the URL link on the same page to provide the source information for your paper.  
  1. Go to Nexis Uni database 
  2. Under the "Guided Search" select the [Cases] > Jurisdiction > Enter keywords or subjects > Select the date range 
  3. On the search results page, click on the title of the case to read the full text.
  4. Read the full text. On the right-hand of the page, use Shepard's feature to tack the previous history of this court decision and what cases cited this case later. 
  5. Click on the [Export Citation] link and choose a citation format. 

Tip:  Use the [Get a Doc Assistance] to retrieve a document by citation, party name, or by docket number. 

Additional resources:

The Florida State University Libraries

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