Monday, January 26, 2009

checking the official version

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."  12pcaamcq08casfz6rqca8w5nkwca1l4ucm 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

(spl)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/2009/01/on-the-importan.html

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef010536f7bf6a970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference checking the official version:

Comments

What a great story and teaching point! Although it would be a shame to lose the example, my experience has been that Westlaw will eventually correct these errors IF someone points them out, which is helpful to future researchers. There is considerable lag time between the notice and the correction, however, presumably because the suggestion is filtering through the editing process.

Posted by: Mark Burge | Jan 28, 2009 7:36:30 AM

Post a comment