When adding entries for defendants, we record only the "real party in interest" – that is, who is really being sued. This may be different from the names listed on a complaint, as sometimes a suit will be filed naming an individual who represents or works for a government agency, but it’s the agency that defends the lawsuit, obeys the injunction, and pays the damages.

For example, if a plaintiff sues a state, the state's governor, and the state's attorney general, we usually would record only the state as a defendant.



The name of the "real party in interest" – typically the institution being sued or the institution represented by the individuals being sued. Sometimes, this might also be the title of a position that a person holds. In very rare cases, name will refer to an actual person.



The institution or agency that took the action that formed the basis of the lawsuit. If this is the same as name, then institution should be an empty string.



The city of the defendant's location. This is not where the challenged action(s) took place. If the defendant is a state or federal entity (i.e. applies to the whole state or country), then institution_city is an empty string.







The type or category of the defendant in terms of what the defendant governs.




A city or city-level entity.


A county or county-level entity.


A country or federal entity.

Non-profit or advocacy

A nonprofit or advocacy organization that is not a governmental body.

Political Party

A political party.

Private Entity/Person

A private entity or individual person.


An entity associated with a region that is not a city, county, state, or country.

School District

A public school district.


A state or state entity.


An indigenous tribe.


A labor union.

Note: This is different from the "Defendant-type" case issue.



The type or category of the defendant in terms of what the defendant governs if it does not fall under one of the options for #defendent_level.

Note: This is different from the "Defendant-type" case issue.

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