A legal reference source primarily covering published decisions of federal appellate courts.
The decisions are published in paperback Federal Reporter pamphlets (advance sheets) shortly after they are handed down and then are issued in a hardbound volume when enough cases have accumulated to fill a book. The hard-bound volumes are consecutively numbered as they are published. After 300 volumes had been issued, a second series was started in 1924. Following the release of 999 volumes in the second series, the third series started in 1993.
A case may be found in the Federal Reporter in the volume whose number is that given first in the citation for the case. If the case was decided after 1924, the citation will refer to the second series of the Federal Reporter. For example, the case of O'Connor v. Lee-Hy Paving Co., decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1978, is cited as 579 F. 2d 194. It can be located on page 194 of volume 579 in the Federal Reporter, second series.
The Federal Reporter covers decisions by (1) the circuit court of appeals, the district courts, the former U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, the former U.S. Court of Claims, and the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia for the years from 1880 to 1932; (2) the u.s. courts of appeals and the former U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals for the years beginning with 1932; (3) the U.S. Emergency Court of Appeals from 1942 to 1961 and the U.S. temporary emergency court of appeals from 1972 to the present; and (4) the former U.S. Court of Claims from 1960 to the fall of 1982; thereafter it became the U.S. Claims Court.
CD-ROM format is available. Other federal court opinions are published in a series called the federal supplement.