HeinOnline, Case Law, and Football

Case Law, Exploring HeinOnline, Fastcase
Shannon Furtak

The National Football League made the news recently when a former player sued the league for $5 million after the player was preliminarily diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is caused by repeated head trauma. This lawsuit follows a 2015 class-action lawsuit settlement between the NFL and former players which provides up to $5 million per retired player for medical conditions caused by repeated head trauma.

HeinOnline's partnership with Fastcase provides access to state and federal case law to all HeinOnline Core subscribers free of charge. Users can obtain the full text of case law from all federal district and circuit courts, bankruptcy courts, and state courts for all 50 states. Check out the full scope of Fastcase's coverage at fastcase.com.

Fastcase Basic

To access case law from HeinOnline, use the Case Law tab on the main search bar from anywhere in HeinOnline and enter a case citation:

The full text of the case will appear. On the upper left side of the page, access articles and cases* that cite the case being viewed, download the document as a PDF, save it to your MyHein personal research account, or access a list of cases that have treated the current case negatively*:

*Cited by cases feature and list of cases posting negative treatment to a current case are available with an upgrade to Fastcase Premium or by synchronizing an existing Fastcase account with HeinOnline.

Case law powered by Fastcase can also be accessed by all Core subscribers by clicking a case citation from anywhere in HeinOnline. These citations will be highlighted in blue and will link users directly to the full text of the case:

Fastcase Premium

In order to access the additional features of Fastcase Premium, HeinOnline subscribers can upgrade their subscription or synchronize their HeinOnline subscription with an existing Fastcase institutional account. In addition to enhanced access to cited cases and cases which treat a case negatively, Premium users can also search the full text of all cases available via Fastcase. When the Case Law tab is clicked, a Search Fastcase link will appear, and Fastcase will also appear in the list of available collections:

Check out this Quick Reference Guide for more information about Fastcase and HeinOnline.

Searching with HeinOnline and Fastcase Premium

Let's search for the class-action lawsuit settlement between the NFL and its former players. Select Fastcase from the list of subscribed libraries, and enter "National Football League" OR "Nat'l Football League" OR NFL using the Case Name fields:

Nearly 350 results are received. to find the class action settlement discussed above, choose the search within results icon, which is located above the list of search results:

Add the phrase "class action settlement" in the Text field, and search only 2015 cases using the Date fields:

The results are significantly narrowed, and the third result pertains to the concussion injury litigation:

To search for all cases containing the phrase "chronic traumatic encephalopathy" OR CTE, search within results and enter each term in a text search field:

12 results contain one or both of those phrases.

Find related journal articles on this topic by searching in the Law Journal Library for ("National Football League" OR "Nat'l Football League" OR NFL) AND ("chronic traumatic encephalopathy" OR CTE). This search query produces nearly 250 results, with the vast majority of articles written in the past six years. Sort results by Volume Date (Oldest First) to view the progression of this topic over time:

This will likely continue to be a frequently studied topic as new information emerges about the long term effects of repeated head trauma, especially as it pertains to professional sports.

For help searching and navigating in HeinOnline, contact our dedicated support team at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us!

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