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U.S. District Court of Oregon Cases NOT Available on a Free, Public Website

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Why should Oregon (and some other states) federal District Court cases be available only to people with access to paid subscription databases such as PACER, Lexis, Westlaw, etc.?

With all the loose (i.e. uninformed) talk about “it’s all online” and PACER possibly becoming free and open (with all those unredacted documents – maybe yours?), I expected to find all judicial opinions, or at least federal court opinions (they have bigger budgets than the states) online.

I started looking for something fairly benign, like our very own Oregon federal District Court judicial opinions and found that no, U.S. District Court of Oregon cases are NOT available on a free, public website. Not on Findlaw, LexisOne, PLoL, Justia, or anywhere else. You might be able to find a few selected cases, but not an official database (and authentic) with a complete sequence of up-to-date cases, searchable or otherwise.

PACER could become a source for all federal court opinions, but for now, we have only this piecemeal effort. (See the Cornell’s LII Federal Law chart for links.)

I referred in a blog post about condo law to a recent Oregon federal district court case and thought I would be able to link to a free, public version of the case…. Alas.