Opinion Search Help

How to Search Opinions

  1. The search function of this portion of the website uses a Google search appliance and limits results just to opinions. If you wish to search in other parts of the website, please use the search box located near the upper right corner of the website.
  1. The “Court” section in Step 1 allows you to narrow your search to find opinions issued by just the Supreme Court of Missouri or one of the three Court of Appeals districts. You may keep your search broad by selecting “All Appellates,” which will allow you to search all appellate opinions issued by Missouri courts.
  1. If you know the date on which an opinion was issued, simply select that date from the list of buttons under “View By Date” in Step 2, and a list of all opinions issued on that date by the court(s) you selected in Step 1 will appear. The earliest opinions available online were issued in the spring of 1997 That and each year since is available as a search option in the “Year of Opinion” drop-down menu in Step 2.
  1. By selecting “Show all Opinions for Year,” you can view all of the opinions issued for a given year in the specific court or district you have chosen. To clear the selection and return to the list of dates, simply select “Hide all Opinions.”
  1. You also can use the search box under “Search Opinions” in Step 2 to find opinions by case number, relating to a certain topic or using key words such as a litigant’s name.
    1. To find an opinion by case number, simply type the court code (SC for supreme court, WD for western district, ED for eastern district and SD for southern district) followed by the case number and click “Search.” Do not put a space between the court code and the case number.
    1. To find an opinion by topic, or to find a collection of opinions regarding a certain topic, simply type a key word into the box and click “Search.” The same method works for finding a case using a litigant’s name.
    1. Depending on the key word(s) you choose, your search may return many results or none at all. Try various key words, perhaps starting with just one word or a short phrase, and add additional terms to narrow your results.
    1. If you retrieve multiple opinions and want to narrow them, try putting your search terms in quotes, or expand a one word search into a phrase.
  1. To search for opinions authored by a specific judge, enter the judge’s name into the box and click “Search.” You may wish to use the judge’s full name and not just his or her last name, as the latter method is likely to return all opinions in which the judge voted and not just those the judge wrote.
  1. If a search does not turn up the opinion you are seeking, or you believe there more opinions exist for a particular topic than what you are finding, try using synonyms of your search terms for additional results. Again, please note that this site only includes opinions dating into the spring of 1997.