Search Option 1 is a full-text search application. This help page, however, is about Search Option 2 ("DMS Search"), which is a database search using fields from the Office of Administrative Law Judges' Document Management System (DMS).
DMS search enables searches based on the OALJ Case Number, the name of the Employer or Respondent, the name of the Claimant or Complainant, or the date of the ALJ's decision.
OALJ Case Number Field:
The OALJ case number has three components: (1) the Fiscal Year in which the case was docketed, (2) a three letter acronym that indicates the type of case, and (3) the sequential number of the filing. For example, 2005-BLA-00011 would be the eleventh black lung case filed in Fiscal Year 2005.
In the search fields:
In this field you may use any part of the name -- first, last or full name. Because of the way information is entered into the DMS docket card, you may need to try both the Claimant/Complainant and Employer/Respondent fields.
In this field you may use any part of the name -- first, last or full name. Do not separate names by commas. For example, use Smith John rather than Smith, John. Because of the way information is entered into the DMS docket card, you may need to try both the Claimant/Complainant and Employer/Respondent fields. For alien labor certification cases, use the Claimant/Complainant field to search by name of the alien.
In this field you must enter the search date exactly in this format: mm/dd/yyyy. For example, to search for cases decided on November 1, 2000, enter 11/01/2000.
Search Results Page:
DMS search returns a page showing search results. Users can re-sort the results by the categories shown at the top of each column. If the Decision Date field is blank, the case is still pending. If the "DMS File" column says "NO" that means that there is no electronic document available in DMS for that case. This is usually because the case was decided prior to OALJ's DMS implementation, or because the document is under a protective order or otherwise FOIA exempt. You might be able to find older decisions by browsing the caselists in the law library part of the web site or by using a full-text search.
What does DMS cover? DMS was introduced into OALJ operations during 2000-2001. It only includes ALJ decisions. It does not include BRB or ARB decisions. Thus, researchers may need to use a full-text search or browse the caselists of reported decisions to find older decisions. ARB decisions may be located using a full-text search, alphabetical case list, monthly case list, or subject matter case list. BRB decisions may be located on the BRB web site.
How soon after issuance are ALJ decisions available on DMS Search? ALJ decisions are posted to the OALJ web site one business day after issuance, except that decisions issued under the LHWCA and its extensions are transmitted to the OALJ web site five business days after issuance. Links to LHC, LHK, DCW and LDA posted decisions often first become available on the sixth business day after issuance.
How do I cite to a decision? You may cite DMS decisions as a slip opinion. The PDF and HTML versions have identical content, but the PDF version is considered the official version by OALJ.
Why is there a capital "A" on the signature line? Prior to mid-2013, when an ALJ signed a decision a font with his or her digitized signature was placed in the document. When the web site version of the decision was created, the judge's signature font was not present so the conversion tool substituted an "A". The system was designed this way in order to prevent widespread dissemination of the judge's signature. Currently, ALJ decisions are signed with a digital self-certificate.
Why doesn't DMS work on my computer? You probably need to upgrade to a newer version of your web browser (e.g., IE 5.x or higher).
Why does only the first page of the PDF file load into my web browser? The PDF files can be very large. You can also work around the problem by downloading the PDF file to your hard drive and then opening it in a PDF reader outside the web browser. You might also try downloading a newer version of the PDF reader. Finally, most users are able to load the HTML version of the decision even if the PDF fails. For more information, see Help With Using PDF Files.