Over the past few years, the Sixth Circuit has undergone several changes as to how to cite to the record in briefs as electronic filing gradually replaced the old “joint appendix” system of record citation. The most recent change can be found in proposed Sixth Circuit Rule 28(a), which contains detailed descriptions of how the record should be cited. All filings at the district court now have a unique “Page ID #”, and the proposed rule (once adopted) will require the parties to cite to the Page ID number when referencing the record in their brief.

Although it will be some time before the rule is formally adopted, the Court is eager to see parties begin to implement this citation change now.  The reason for this is that the Court is already implementing this change internally (such as having law clerks use Page ID cites in their bench memos, and utilizing Page ID cites in internal correspondence). Moreover, the Court’s computer system now is compatible with the Page ID system such that a judge or clerk can simply type in the relevant cite and be taken immediately to that page of the record. As a result, it is much easier for the Court to have those pinpoint cites than to have traditional record cites (R. 37 at page 4) and have to pull that document up specifically, particularly when counsel does not provide pinpoint cites.

With the Page ID cite system, counsel must also take care to ensure absolute accuracy in record citations because they can (and will) be readily checked.  Judges will also have handy access to the Page ID cites at oral argument, reinforcing the need for counsel to be fully conversant with the record at argument.