Monday, January 26, 2009
If you use Westlaw to look up the case of Trustees v. Schroll, 120 Ill. 509, 12 N.E. 243 (1887), you will read the Illinois Supreme Court declare that "Appellants sue for a doby of land." And then you might wonder, just what is a doby of land? Or what did the term mean in 1887? A dictionary will explain that "doby" is often understood in the southwestern U.S. as "adobe." And "adobe" can mean the clay, a structure made from the clay, or the land the clay comes from. But in Illinois? Not much adobe here. At this point the wise researcher goes to the official version of the case, only to discover that Westlaw inverted the consonants, and the court was merely referring to a "body" of land. One more good reason to check the official version of a case.
hat tip: Prof. Emeritus Bob Beck, Southern Illinois University