About Our Data
The sources of the data for the Washington State Supreme and Appellate Court Decisions are the bound volumes of decisions for those issued before 1994, the advance sheets for those through the middle of 2011, and slip opinions thereafter.
Although we strive for accuracy, the data does not absolutely mirror the report of the opinions in the official reports of the opinions of the Washington Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. All data on this site should be checked against the official reports, which can be found at all county law libraries in the state of Washington.
The website includes Court of Appeals unpublished opinions filed since July 2004. The unpublished opinions are preceded by the warning "DO NOT CITE." Unpublished opinions should not be relied on as precedent in any materials provided to courts.
The Washington official reports are the sole authoritative source of Washington judicial opinions. For the Supreme Court, the official report is Washington Reports 2d Series (Wn.2d); for the Court of Appeals, the official report is Washington Appellate Reports (Wn. App.). To ensure accuracy, all data on this website should be checked against the report of the opinion in the official reports.
Judicial opinions proceed through several stages before assuming a final form. The appellate court first issues a "slip opinion," which is posted on the Washington courts website at http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/. Each slip opinion is superseded by the report of the opinion in the official reports "advance sheets," which in turn is superseded by the report of the opinion in the official reports "bound volume."
Reporting opinions involves a continuing process of editing and refining that doesn't stop until the opinion is published in the bound volume. Multiple changes are made to each opinion between each stage. The most common type of change corrects technical matters such as citation, style, and grammar. Substantive changes that affect the opinion's meaning and opinion withdrawals result in formal court orders that are circulated to the parties and all legal publishers. Depending on when they are issued, such orders are incorporated into the report of the opinion in the advance sheets or the bound volume.
On this website, pre-1994 opinions are from bound volumes. Opinions from 1994 to the middle of 2011 are from advance sheets. The most recent information, since the middle of 2011, comes from slip opinions on the Washington courts website. We plan to refine this information as better data become available.
The Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington presents the information on this website as a service to our customers and other Internet users. Although this site contains information about legal issues, it is not intended to be legal advice. Additionally, due to on-going changes in state and federal law and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, we make no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content at this site or at any other sites to which we provide links. Please send questions or comments about this site to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can respond to requests for information from Washington city, town and county officials and staff only.