What is a Docket?
A court case docket is the ongoing official record of information and filings in a case. The docket sheet provides data such as case number, parties, court, assigned judge, nature of suit, relief demanded, attorneys, and case status, as well as a record of filings, hearings, orders and other events in the case. Some electronic dockets provide links to full text of filings such as briefs and memoranda, orders and decisions.
Why should you care about dockets? Litigation history or current awareness needs, finding examples of pleadings, background research on judges or attorneys, business development and due diligence searches are all possible uses of docket information.
When looking for sample pleadings and motions, note that dockets on the web typically do not provide for full text searching of documents, but dockets on Lexis and Westlaw do. Some dockets have a look-up by type of document or type of case. You can also search a case law database first, find the docket number and then pull up the docket containing relevant documents.