Monday, October 5, 2015

First Monday in October

The interior of the United States Supreme Court
Photo by Phil Roeder, CC BY 2.0.
Today, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, marks the beginning of a new Supreme Court term. For court watchers, this means eagerly watching oral arguments, awaiting rulings that will likely be handed down in June 2016, and debating how those rulings will shape the political climate in a presidential election year.

This term, the Supreme Court is slated to hear cases on issues impacting public-sector unions (Friedrichs v. CA Teachers Association), affirmative action in higher education (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), the death penalty, and possibly abortion issues.  To learn about the cases coming in front of the Supreme Court, visit the Court’s website.  It provides access to Supreme Court opinions, case documents, oral arguments, and a calendar so you can know when cases will be argued.  The website also provides access to other information about the Court interested parties might enjoy – like access to audio files of oral arguments.

The BC Law Library’s Federal Judicial Materials research guide also provides information about accessing Supreme Court materials such as dockets, briefs, rules, and opinions.

If you are looking for a more theatrical view of the First Monday in October and the Supreme Court, check out First Monday in October from the Law Library’s DVD Collection!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut

(Photo by Patrick Skahill from WNPR)

A scalding cup of coffee from McDonald’s, a giant billboard featuring Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, a two door sedan marketed and manufactured by Ford in the 1970s ……

What do these three things share in common?

Answer: They are all part of milestone cases in American tort law. See:
  • Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurant, 1995 WL 360309 (N.M. Dist. Ct. 1994);
  • Cipollone v. Liggett Group, 112 S.Ct. 2608 (1991);
  • Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 19 Cal.App.3d 757 (Cal. Ct. App. 1981)
Now, you will have a chance to immerse yourself in the stories and legal theory of American tort law while surrounded by all those famously “unsafe” products or advertisements of which in the newly opened American Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut, founded by long term consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Visitors (especially law student visitors) may be interested in the following themes demonstrated by the Exhibits in the Museum: the anatomy of a torts lawsuit, how tort law promotes safety, how tort law compensates, great closing arguments, the story of famous tort cases, etc.

See details here,

Monday, September 28, 2015

ISOnet Forms Library adds a new insurance professionals directory

Boston College Law Library subscribes to the Insurance Services Office's ISOnet Forms Library, a database of more than 9,000 standard insurance policies, endorsements and forms.  The Forms Library contains all standard policies in effect in the United States on or after January 1, 1994.  The policies, endorsements and forms are available in html and pdf formats.  Standard policies can be retrieved by form number and the database may be browsed by type of insurance line and jurisdiction or may be searched by keyword.

Last week, the Insurance Services Office added a new feature to its Forms Library:  the Contact Our Professionals link. 

Use this directory to identify and contact ISO insurance professionals with questions concerning compliance, ratings, coverage and more.  Simply select the insurance product line and then select the topic to find the ISO professional who is most knowledgeable in that area. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Free International Law Resources Related to Refugees and Migrants

In response to the refugee crisis in Europe, Oxford University Press (OUP), the largest university press and the renowned publisher in public international law, has made a good amount of their content on refugee law freely available to the public. The information online comes from over 30  book chapters, journal articles and other sources, and is structured to answer four key questions:

  1. Who is a refugee?
  2. What rights do they have?
  3. What are transit states’ obligations?
  4. What are the duties of the state where a refugee applies for asylum?
For resources to answer those question, please see the detailed outline at this link:

In addition to this very helpful source on refugee law, OUP is also the publisher of Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law Online, a frequently updated, comprehensive database used by practitioners, scholars and students around the world to research topics in public international law.

Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law Online is accessible from the Law Library's Database List,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Intelligize - a new way to research SEC filings

Need to track  SEC filings? Now, the BC Law Library has a new tool to streamline your corporate filings research: Intelligize.  The Intelligize platform is the preferred research tool for many corporate law offices and financial firms.  Using Intelligize, you can easily drill down to discover language in clauses and sections contained within filings.  In addition, Intelligize analyzes the language within filings. This process provides normalized clauses to allow retrieval of similar risk factor language, for example, across filings.  Just this month, Intelligize added a "registered offerings" database to streamline access to over 10,000 filings from 2010 to present. Among other features, this new database allows users to track legal fees tables from the registration filing and sort those fee tables by industry or offering size.

All BC Law faculty members and students can access Intelligize by using the link from the Law Library's list of databases and registering for a personal account using their BC e-mail address.Need help getting started with Intelligize? Drop by the Information Desk or contact a law librarian by e-mail:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

BloombergLaw: Docket Searching at Your Fingertips (with Growing Coverage!)

Hello, BC Law!  This week ABA Journal published an article highlighting a case from my best friend's hometown, Peoria, IL.  Naturally, this calls for a blog post.

With the growing trend of social media (mis)use, and more specifically, Twitter use in political context, this case examined the First Amendment protection offered to Jonathan Daniel for a parody Twitter account he created as the Mayor of Peoria.  His inappropriate posts resulted in a police raid of his home with the intent of prosecution for false impersonation of a public official.  In the end though, the City of Peoria settled the case with Daniel for $125,000--which they ended up paying him.

That's nice a nice twist for Mr. Daniel, but what does this actually have to do with BloombergLaw dockets?  Well, the ABA Journal article only alludes to the official case and charges, and provides a link to the settlement, but no other court documents.  If a reader's curiosity is piqued, as mine was, about what the actual complaint stated, where could that information be found?  You guessed it.

BloombergLaw dockets search allows students access to case dockets, that are updated directly from PACER, and the coverage is growing beyond just federal dockets to including those from state courts as well.  How might a curious legal eagle uncover the coverage of a particular state?  The Litigation and Dockets tab, on the top menu bar, has a link called Docket Coverage.

This directs users to a page with a US map and dropdown menu.  Use that menu to select a particular state.  The chart displayed will show what state court dockets are available on Bloomberg.  This example shows part of Massachusetts:

To search for a particular case docket, go back to the Litigation and Dockets tab and click on the Search Dockets link.  From here you can enter the docket number, if you have it.  Remember to make sure your formatting fits the Bloomberg search requirements (explained in the Federal Docket Numbers link) and note that you can add other terms to start or narrow your search.  (See below for a search of the Daniel case docket--the docket number gleaned from the settlement PDF linked on the ABA Journal original article.)

To read the Daniel article on ABA Journal, check out this link.  To get started with your own BloombergLaw docket search (and figure out what actually happened in the Daniel case and why he got 1/8 of a million dollars for poking fun at the Mayor of Peoria), point your mouse here.  Keep checking that Docket Coverage section as more materials are added.  And, as always, if you have questions about this or any other resource, please contact us at the Reference Desk.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Welcome to the BC Law class of 2019

This is an exciting week for the BC Law Library staff as we meet the members of the entering class!  Our 1L students have been bustling around the campus.  The Law Library and technology orientation takes place today.  We have a full schedule set for them, including a candy reception to cap off their experience.