civil court lawsuits
Federal Courts Online
To find websites for various federal courts, go to this page at the FindLaw site:
There you'll see links to listings for:
Some federal court websites have indexes or calendars of their cases online.
But very few federal courts have put any of the documents in the court cases on their websites (the main exceptions are appeals court judges' final rulings, which are frequently on the appeals court websites).
Instead most federal courts use a proprietary electronic system called PACER to which people, especially lawyers, pay a fee to subscribe and see the index of federal court cases or access electronic copies of documents filed in those cases. See Jonathan Dube's Web Tips column about PACER at the Poynter Institute website.
U.S. District Court for Northern California
The U.S. District Court for Northern California in San Francisco has a website that has an index of recently filed cases (although not the documents that were filed) and of cases of public interest (which do include some of the court documents:
The U.S. District Court for Northern California also has calendars for its judges online. Go to:
But you can't search the calendars by the name of a plaintiff or defendant. And the judges listed handle both civil and criminal cases.
So unless you know which judge is handling a particular case, it's very hard to use the online calendars to track down a case.
People or corporations who want to dispute a claim by the IRS that they owe taxes do so in U.S. Tax Court.
At the Tax Court's website you can search by the name of a person or corporation to see if they have a case pending: