Wisconsin Lawyer Fined for Bad Citation

Will this spread to other jurisdictions? Will people now pay more attention when we talk to them about the importance of proper legal citation? Just a thought :)

Lawyer Fined $100 for Getting a Case Citation Wrong


  1. My first impression was, please, please, no.

    But then I looked at the particulars; “Different name, different citation, different district (District IV) but, as promised, unpublished.” When you get that much wrong, perhaps a symbolic and confidential (the lawyer’s identity was not disclosed) reprimand might be in order.

  2. I think the biggest transgresion was relying on an unpublished decision. This was glossed over in the original posting (which just had the footnote that outlined the fine), but from what I understand that is a No No.

  3. No, you can rely on unpublished decisions, they are still valid law. But it is always better to cite to a published decision if possible. You should only cite to an unpublished decision if there are no published decisions on the particular topic.