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How to reference multiple legal briefs in the same case, The following page fives an example which I find ambiguous http://csulb.libanswers.com/faq/30518

If there are several different legal briefs in the same case then referencing them in text as (Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 2003) would make them indistinguishable from each other and totally ambiguous.

For example if my text reads: Several parties have files amici curiae briefs in the case including: The Copyright Alliance (Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 2003) , Association of American Publishers (Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 2003) , Copyright Law Scholars (Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 2003).

The above sentence just mindlessly repeats (Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 2003). citation 3 times even though the intention was to refer to 3 separate legal brief documents listed below:

Brief of amici curiae The Copyright Alliance in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees in Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 16-2321 (2nd Cir. 2017)

Brief of amici curiae Association of American Publishers, Inc. in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees in Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 16-2321 (2nd Cir. 2017)

Brief of Copyright Law Scholars as Amici Curiae in Support of Defendants-Appellants and Reversal in Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, 16-2321 (2nd Cir. 2017)

So the question is how to cite such briefs in text to make them distinguishable from each other?

  • Welcome to Writers.SE – JP Chapleau Feb 14 '18 at 13:19
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APA Style follows Bluebook (legal) style for legal citation (see the APA Blog). Per the The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation R. 10.8.3, at 113 (Columbia law Review Ass'n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015), you should be including the name of the document (e.g. "Brief for the Petitioner" or "Brief for The Copyright Alliance") in addition to the name of the case, authority, date, and the docket number.

Also, I note that you don't include the reporter and page number information in your full citations; if those are available (which they should be unless the case isn't reported for some reason) they should be included immediately after the case name. For a 2nd Circuit decision from the 2000s the reporter might be F.3d; this should be preceded by the volume number and followed by the page number that the case starts on.

So for briefs in a case with a published decision, your citation should be something like:

Brief for The Copyright Alliance as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiffs-Appellees, Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, XXX F. Supp. XXX (2nd Cir. 2017) (No. 16-2321)

If the case is NOT published, the docket number takes the place of the reporter information and the date in parentheses should be the date that the particular document was filed, including the month and day, rather than the date of the case (this might help further distinguish between your three briefs):

Brief for The Copyright Alliance as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiffs-Appellees, Mosely v. V Secret Catalogue, No. 16-2321 (2nd Cir. Mon. ##, 2017)

This is probably a lot longer than what you're used to seeing for an in-text citation, but that's what is used the first time the citation appears per Bluebook style. You can also use a shorter form if it's within five citations, or use a supra form. I'm not clear on whether APA licenses using a short form from the start; all these details should probably be separate questions. If you were going to use a short form, it might look something like:

Brief for The Copyright Alliance, Mosely, XXX F.3d. XXX (No. 16-2321).

If you're going to be doing a lot of legal citation, it would be well worth your time to find a copy of the Bluebook to consult (also to double-check my suggestions above). Most university libraries in the US (and all law libraries) will have a copy, and you can probably find used copies online fairly inexpensively. This is doubly important if whatever you are writing will have a legal audience (if you are submitting to a law review, or are writing actual legal documents).

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