Basic information about most civil, criminal, bankruptcy, and appellate cases filed in federal court is now available through an innovative electronic system that is readily accessible to the public.
For the first time, users can determine with a single inquiry whether a debtor has filed for bankruptcy in federal court, where the case was filed and when, the case number, and the chapter of the bankruptcy code under which the case was filed. Similar information may be obtained relative to most other court cases.
The U.S. Party/Case Index allows users to search nationwide by name or by social security number in the bankruptcy index, by name and nature of suit in the civil index, by defendant name in the criminal index, and by party name in the appellate index. For some courts, both current and historic case information is available.
A subset of the U.S. Party/Case Index, the Prisoner Litigation Index allows searches for prisoner petitions filed in multiple court jurisdictions by the same prisoner. Each match provides the name of the prisoner, the court where the petition was filed, the case number, the filing date, the nature of suit, and the date the case was closed, if applicable. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 prohibits prisoners from filing additional IFP (in forma pauperis) petitions if three have already been dismissed on the grounds that they were frivolous, malicious, or otherwise failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. This new index will assist courts in tracking such cases.
The U.S. Party/Case Index represents the latest development in the popular PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, part of the Federal Judiciary's continuing effort to offer the public a variety of means of gaining access to court information. The U.S. Party/Case Index can simplify national or regional searches by eliminating the need to search individual courts' PACER systems. Users can access the index 24 hours a day, including weekends, either over the Internet or through dial-up means via a toll free telephone number. A valid log-in and password are required, and standard PACER usage fees apply.
Persons desiring to use this service must first register with the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856.
The U.S. Party/Case Index was designed by and is managed by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C.