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12 May 2020 Author : InfoPro Community Manager

Tips for Litigation Fact-Finding Research on the Lexis Advance® Service

Tips from Loyd Auerbach, LexisNexis Librarian® Relations Consultant

The unmatched news collection on Lexis Advance provides a wealth of information related to litigation in relation to general or specific lawsuits, trials, settlements, judges, experts and more. These search tips will help you find insightful litigation-related information covered in the news.

Consider the questions below to determine how to adapt the search examples or select the right source set to fit your needs. For example, do you want to search all news (which goes back to the late 1970s), the last two years, the last 90 days, or one of our other combined source groupings (i.e., Major World Publications)?

  • What is your sense of how much is out there? (The less you think there is, the broader the search initially.)
  • What is the requestor actually asking for?
    • Do you have enough information to find it?
    • Is it too broad a request?
  • Are you looking for any mention, articles that have greater discussion or really in-depth articles?
  • Do you think that if you are too specific in the initial search that you might miss something? If so, does it make sense to start with broader connectors and fewer concepts and then filter?
  • Does it make sense to apply segments like HLEAD, LENGTH or DATE or the ATLEAST command in your initial search?

Note: The general template searches are in CAPS, and the sample searches are in italics. Where you see ______ indicators, fill in with the topic, issue, company, individual, product, etc. that are relevant to the research request.

GENERAL INFO ON LITIGATION

LAWSUIT OR LITIGAT* OR SUIT OR LEGAL ACTION OR CLASS ACTION OR TRIAL /10 __________
         Lawsuit or litigat* or legal action or class action or trial /10 trademark /5 infring*

JUDGMENT OR JUDGEMENT OR AWARD! OR DAMAGES /10 _______
Note: As alternatives here, consider type-of-verdict or type-of-settlement.
       Judgment or judgment or award* or damages /10 excess* /10 trial

PENDING CASES & LITIGATION HISTORY: similar to general litigation searches, but with specific parties or nature of suit

Covid-19 or novel coronavirus /10 litigat* or lawsuit or legal action or class action
Tesla /10 litigat* or lawsuit or suit or legal action or class action
Writers guild /15 antitrust or anti-trust
Sex* /3 harass* /10 litigat* or lawsuit or legal action or class action

SETTLEMENTS & VERDICTS
SETTL* OR VERDICT /10 company or topic
              Settl* or verdict /5 IBM
Add DAMAGE OR AWARD* to find more specifics
              Settl* or verdict /5 age /3 discrim* and damage or award*

JUDGES
JUDGE OR MAGISTRATE /5 LAST-NAME AND FIRST-NAME /2 LAST-NAME
             judge /5 budzinski and elizabeth /2 budzinski

Note: You may need to include Magistrate for some, and of course, Justice for appropriate judges.

EXPERTS (when you have the name)
Start with FIRST-NAME /2 LAST-NAME unless the name seems like it might be common.
Add terms related to the area of expertise. If the last name is also the noun for something (e.g., Bill Wall), identify the last name as a proper name with the Caps command: (Bill /2 caps(wall))

Also consider additional terms or the caps command to refine an answer set using the Search Within Results filter, particularly for common names.
              Craig /2 Lichtblau
              Russell /2 Kendzior and kendzior /10 (slip /2 fall) or safety
              Jack /2 brown and nonverbal or non-verbal
              Marc /2 salem and nonverbal or non-verbal

Potential name variations? For example, William can be Will or Bill. Additionally, journalists don’t always get the correct spelling. Also consider that some names with other language roots (such as from ideographic written languages) can be transliterated into English with different spellings. Here’s an example of a comprehensive name search to compensate for variations: Loyd or Lloyd /2 A*erbac*. Of course, you will likely need to add additional terms since this will expand your results. Also consider nicknames that have been associated with an individual.

Note: Patents can provide insight into an expert’s background if the expert is an inventor. If his/her invention is part of the litigation, be sure to review assignments and details about the invention/product, especially if a newer patent for the same product points out the shortcomings of the earlier one.

Articles authored by judges, attorneys, experts, etc.:
If you want to only pull up articles authored by an individual, whether that person is a judge, expert, attorney, politician or other, use the BYLINE segment.

FINDING POTENTIAL EXPERTS/WHAT DO EXPERTS SAY ABOUT …
EXPERT /10 TOPIC

If you’re looking for an expert who is a scientist, professor, doctor, etc., be sure to add those as alternatives. Make sure the additional terms relate to the kind of position the individual might have in relation to the topic. Medical experts should include doctor or physician or surgeon or medical researcher, while experts in other fields ought to include the appropriate title/term related to the field (e.g., professor or scientist or researcher, possibly even consultant).

EXPERT OR SCIENTIST OR PROFESSOR OR DOCTOR OR PHYSICIAN /10 “APPROPRIATE TOPIC”
           expert or professor /10 nonverbal or non-verbal pre/1 communication
           expert /10 5G /10 health or harmful not /50 covid-19 or coronavirus
           expert /10 (electromagnetic or electro-magnetic /5 field) or emf /25 cancer or harmful and not 5G
           expert /5 asbestos*

To limit to what “experts say,” you can conduct a search within for the phrase experts /5 say. Academic experts will be identified by their affiliations. Consequently, you can conduct a search within looking for words such as professor or university or college. Or use the names of professional organizations like Mayo Clinic or American Psychological Association.

Note: Scientific publications content type will provide additional information and names (authors of papers/articles) on topics. Just run the search without the “expert” part and look for the authors of the articles—or those especially cited within on-point articles. However, some publishers only use first and possibly middle initials for the author’s name, such as Medline.

TOPICAL RESEARCH
Depending on the popularity of the topic in the news, consider the following tips, or use them in search:

Time frame: How far back do you want to go, or are you looking for what was known at a certain point in time?
Headline or HLEAD segments: If common sense tells you it’s popular, start with the HLEAD for headline or lead Paragraph.
Atleast command: If you anticipate a large results set, consider using terms with atleast3 or atleast 5 to start. You can always increase the numbers using Search Within.
Length: Are you looking for feature/in-depth articles? Shorter news bits? If so, add a length restrictor (>, <), either up front or with Search Within. Feature articles typically start around 1,200 – 1,500 words, but certainly not less than 1,000.       
AND NOT: If you want to eliminate a concept from the start, add it to the end of the initial search with the AND NOT connector (and not coronavirus or covid-19), or you can limit connections to the term(s) with the NOT /# connector ([term] not /15 conspiracy).

Hlead(sick building syndrome or indoor air pollution and health* and air quality) and atleast5(sick building or indoor air pollution) and length > 1200
Hlead(5G and health* or safety /5 impact or affect or illness or concern) and atleast5(5g) and not COVID-19 or coronavirus or conspiracy
Hlead(5G and health* or safety /5 impact or affect or illness or concern) and atleast5(5g) and 5g not /10 conspiracy
Social /5 host* /10 liab*

Consider alternate terms and use the “Or” connector. Consult a thesaurus (journalists do!). Remember to consider the Scientific Publications content for background as well.

FINDING CASES WHEN LITTLE IS KNOWN
It’s common to receive a request to find a case based on what someone heard or read,but the information provided is extremely limited or vague (e.g., do not know specific party names or specific details). This is an excellent use of the Lexis Advance News content, as well as specific case files if you do know specifics. For example:

  • Find a case you recall reading about involving somebody named Butler with Teacher’s Annuity (or maybe it was Teacher’s Insurance?). It was from sometime between 1984 and 1988, and you’re pretty sure it was a New York case.

For timing, consider setting the Timeline filter to before 1990 in case the requestor was not remembering correctly. Also use the geographic as a Search Within if necessary, just in case. 
Butler /25 teach* /5 insur* or annuity

  • You recall there was a case relating to a dispute about the costume worn by a radio station mascot. It was a chicken costume. Somehow the KGB pops up in your mind. It happened many years ago.
    Chicken /5 suit or costume or outfit and radio and mascot and kgb
  • Cases where a person sues himself:
    lawsuit or legal action /10 man /2 sued /2 himself or self
  • Wasn’t there a case where Coors Beer sued the Energizer Bunny?
    coors /25 energizer bunny and lawsuit or legal action or litigat*

USING SEARCH WITHIN TO NARROW RESULTS by words/concepts unique to certain news articles

For example:
Press releases sent out by a particular company or PR firm:
          Use the term CONTACT /10-25 AGENCY-NAME OR COMPANY-NAME OR EMAIL-DOMAIN
           contact /15 @clorox.com

To asterisk or exclaim … that is the question.
Exclamation Mark (!) and Asterisk (*)

Use the asterisk to find a root word plus all words you can create by adding characters to the end of the root word. You must enter at least three characters with the * to use this feature. If you use less than three characters, the Lexis Advance service ignores the * and only searches for the one to two character word. The * is best used with unique roots. For example, if you want to find documents that discuss someone being fired, the search fir* finds fire, firing and fired, but the search also finds first, which you may not want.

You can also use the * in the middle of a word to find multiple letters. For example, sp*t finds words including sprint, spirit, specialist and spreadsheet.

You can still use the exclamation mark as an alternative to the asterisk at the end of a word as a root generator.

CONNECTOR PRIORITY: visit https://lexisnexis.custhelp.com/app/answers/answer_view/a_id/1091049

PARENTHESES IN SEARCHES: like algebra, researchers can use parentheses to ensure terms and connectors are grouped appropriately as well as to change how the terms and connectors are prioritized. Visit https://lexisnexis.custhelp.com/app/answers/answer_view/a_id/1084036 for information.

Contact your librarian relations consultant or LexisNexis® Representative with questions or for assistance.