The D.C. Circuit Offers an Innovative Way to Fight “Link Rot”

John C. Kruesi, Esq. In a July 30, 2015 press release, The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit announced a new program designed to preserve web-based information cited by the Court in its decisions. (Please click here to access the decision.)

“Link Rot” is a term used to describe the tendency of web pages to change or cease to exist over time. According to the Court, “the Circuit’s opinions frequently contain citations to web pages.” Link Rot would be a major concern in the future should that referenced material become unavailable. Judges, lawyers and the public would be unable to determine what the original judge was relying on for the decision once links rotted away.

The Court’s solution is to archive those cited pages as part of the electronic case record on PACER. In September, the clerk’s office has started adding those cited web pages as .pdf files in the electronic case file insuring that it will be archived indefinitely.

The press release implies that the Court will continue to use web page cites, with archived pages available on PACER as a backup, rather than having those web pages first converted to the archived material and use the PACER web address for the hyperlinks. The latter might be an improvement as it would better achieve the stable results for which the Court is aiming. Unfortunately, that approach would also add time to the process of issuing the opinions. It would also make that information less publically available as it would require a PACER account and probably payment of the usual document retrieval fees (currently $.30/page) charged by PACER to view most files.

Please contact me with any questions regarding preparing and filing any appeal. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. Our Washington, DC office focuses on rule-compliant appellate filings in the Maryland, DC and Virginia state and district courts, as well as the D.C. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. We offer unparalleled in-depth expertise nationwide in all state & federal courts through our local offices.

Read related article: "Web Links to Nowhere" in SCOTUS Decisions: How to Ensure that Cited Material Remains Available for Years to Come.

Tagged: Appellate Practice, Appellate Services, Appellate Procedure, United State Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, Litigation


CP Legal Research Group Appellate Practice Litigation Real Estate Oral Argument Foreclosure Practice Appellate Services History Supreme Court of the United States Production & Support California Court of Appeal New York State Appellate Division Third Department New York State Appellate Division Fourth Department United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Appellate Procedure New York State Appellate Division First Department New York State Appellate Division Second Department New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division The Appellate Law Journal United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Supreme Court of Pennsylvania New York State Court of Appeals Supreme Court of California United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Supreme Court of Virginia Court of Appeals of Virginia United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Supreme Court of New Jersey Superior Court of Pennsylvania Supreme Court of Illinois The Maryland Court of Appeals United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit United State Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit Supreme Court of the State of New York Condo & COOP Court Technology Electronic Briefs