DM - Judicial Proceedings - Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) - Judicial Decisions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
 USDA, Departmental Management masthead  and photo banner USDA logo
 top nav spacer   About DM newsroom DM offices  help contact us
Advanced Search
Search Tips
My U.S.D.A.
customize new user
Browse by Audience

  Browse by Subject
Business Opportunities
DA Services
energy & environment
judicial proceedings
workplace benefits
Workplace Ethics
DA Intranet
Office of the Administrative Law Judge label
 scales 1049 South Building
Washington, D. C. 20250-9202
Phone: 202-720-6383
Fax: 202-690-0790

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Why doesn't the post - 2006 editions of Agriculture Decisions have hyper-links from the List of Decisions Reported directly to the text of the case?

A. We are using the advanced features in Adobe AcrobatTM "Fast Web" to post the four parts of Agriculture Decisions. To search for your case - Go to the List of Decisions Reported in the beginning of the volume find the page number and put that page number in the search box and click the find button.

Q. Why did the search engine not find my cases in pdf format?

A. The FirstGov search engine looks at both html and pdf files that are stored in the OALJDecisions Database. In order to reduce the sheer volume of files that satisfy the search criteria, the search engine always chooses a html file instead of a pdf file if both contain the same text. Since a html file is smaller than the same text file in pdf format, the speed of the search and your download of the file is enhanced. If you have the found the page number of the file (case) you are looking for, then go back to the Chooser box and choose pdf as a format choice and use the hyperlined page numbers to view your selected case in the same form as it exists in the official printed copy.

Q. Why do the pre-2000 cases exist only in pdf?

A. The pre-2000 cases were scanned and converted to a text searchable pdf format with optical character reader software. We elected to choose the pdf over html because it "looks like" the original text.

Q. Why did a search receive results from many sources other that from the USDA Office of Administrative Law Judges?

A. Go to the "Advanced Search" window and be sure that the website address is set to

Q. Why are the page numbers listed in the file called "Index" or the file called "List of decisions Reported (Alphabetical Listing)" not hyperlinked?

A. We have invested the labor to hyperlink the pages numbers found in the "List of Decisions Reported." We have not hyperlinked the List of Decisions Reported Alphabetically and the (Subject matter) Index. The search process to view the text of a case which was found in the non-hyperlinked files is nearly the same process as using a hard bound book. i.e. using the page number found in the Index or Alphabetical Listing, return to the List of Decisions Reported and use the hyperlink found there.

Q. Why is there no Part 4 for Volume 59.

A. The second half of Volume 60 was the first edition which had a Part Four.

Q. Why can't I start with page one of a pre-2006 volumes and scroll through the cases until I reach the last case in the volume?

A. The individual cases in a volume have been individually extracted and hyperlinked to enhance research techniques. Once you have completed your viewing of a particular case, choose the "Back" arrow to return to the hyperlinked "List of Decisions Reported" and choose the next case you wish to view.

Q. How do I parallel cite a case found on this website?

A. A case found on page 41 of Volume 60 January-June 2001edition would be cited with the same rules as set out in the preface of each volume .i.e In re: George Russell, 60 Agric. Dec. 41.

Q. How can I quickly narrow my search to a particular type of case and thereafter further search defined terms to my search?

A. Notice that each case docket number has a strict naming convention. i.g. AMA or AWA or HPA or I.&G., etc. Using that naming convention and using the "Advanced Search" window
(1) Put the type of case in the Key Word Box.
(2) Put your secondary inquiry term in one of the other windows. Usually the "text" window is most useful. Example: put "AMA" in the key word window and put "milk" in the Must include window to get cases dealing with Milk Marketing Orders.

Q. Why can’t I find all the “Current ALJ Decisions” on line?

A. We began publishing Current ALJ Decisions in 2003. For years other than the current calendar year, please check theannual archives for each type of ALJ decision.

Q. Why can't I find any pre-2000 cases in my results from the use of the search engine?

A. We have investigated the potential of using commercial search engines to eliminate references to that bellwether of P.I.I. (i.e. the SSN), but we subsequently found that SSN had at least two varieties [I.e. ###-##-#### and #########], the U.S. Military IDs had their variations as well. Additionally, pre-area code non-business phone numbers being also all numerals (with and without dashes) had various styles of recording in the cases. Although the scanning and OCR process of Agriculture Decisions Volumes 39 through 58 had a low error rate, we had no reliable way of assuring ourselves that embarrassing P.I.I did not slip through and fool the search engine. The unfortunate result of all of these permutations was that even with a crude selection of P.I.I. candidates within the OCR’d text by a uniquely designed search algorithm, it would still come down to a human patiently going through the tens of thousands of pages of results using a “best efforts” standard to eliminate the P.I.I.

Q. When searching for a case by name or Docket Number in the pre-2000 cases, what is the fastest way to view the case on-line.

A. Presently these volumes can only be searched a volume at a time. Assuming that you have found the List of Decisions Page (That's where the case name, Docket number, and page number appear) - First, get yourself into the volume by opening up the initial case in the volume. Then try clicking the Adobe Acrobat Search Box (The icon is a pair of binoculars) and type in the exact case name and if you are brave - try making it case sensitive and that should bring you quickly to the beginning of the case.



For additional information please contact Editor

see also
To view PDF files you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer
 right column navigation footer