Downloading Multiple Files from the New York State Courts' Site
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Downloading Multiple Files from the New York State Courts' Site


Paralegals and litigation support professionals from the New York area will be aware that the New York courts make filings in most cases from recent decades freely available online. See this web page on the New York State United Court System's site: https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/webcivil/ecourtsMain . By clicking on the links for different coruts, passing a simple CAPTCHA test, and entering party names or case index numbers, users can quickly pull up a docket with links to PDFs of public filings. The docket doesn't have the full titles for each filing, but it is possible to locate what you need with some trouble. The site does not however provide an option to download multiple files simultaneously. On a previous night, I tweeted about a plug-in for Fire Fox called 'Download Them All' that can be used to dwnload multiple files from a web page simultaneously. See: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/downthemall. The primary use of that add-in is to download direct links from a single web page. The NYS eCourts site is set up so that each filing opens in a new window - there are not direct links to each PDF on the web page for the docket for a particular case. If you have dozens of filings to download this is a major disadvantage. Here's a way around the problem:

1. On the 'eFiled Documents Details' page for a particular case (the one you access after clicking 'Show eFiled Documents'), right click and select 'View Source'. You should see a new window open like that shown in Figure 1 below. [Note that while I will later use FireFox and the Download Them All plug-in, these initial steps I'm performing with Internet Explorer.].

2. Press CTRL + A, and select all of the code and copy & paste it into an Excel spreadsheet. The text should automatically separate into different columns and a lot of the html code will not be visible. See Figure 2 below. We'll use this spreadsheet later.

3. Paste the same text into Word. We now want to line up the code for the beginning of each docket entry with the code that references the documents numbers. To this begin by find and replacing:

<tr valign=top>^p<td><span class=smallfont>

WITH:

<tr valign=top><td><span class=smallfont>

. . . you are removing the paragraph marker '^p' in Word. See Figure 3 below.

4. Now paste the text from Word into column B in Excel, leaving the first row blank. There should not be any tab marks present, which would shift text to adjacent columns. Number each cell in column A from 1 to whatever. (to do this: select the cells in question go to Home . . . Fill . . .Series (Step Value 1, check Trend). In column C enter this formula:

=IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH("<tr valign=top><td><span class=smallfont>",B2,1)),LEFT(B2,45),C1)

This will find the cells which have the reference to the document numbers and copy them down so that all of the code associated with a particular filing lists its document number in column C. See Figure 4.

5. Now enter this formula in column D to search for the link to each filing:

=IF(LEFT(B2,19)="<a onclick="&CHAR(34)&"openPDF",B2,"")

(See Fig. 5). Note that CHAR(34) is the reference used for a quotation mark. When this formula has been pulled down for all of the rows, copy the information in columns C and D and paste in the values.

6. Clean up the entries in columns C and D so you only have the document numbers and the links you need.

In column C find and replace each of these terms in succession with nothing:

<tr valign=top><td><span class=smallfont>

&nb

&n

n

&

. . . then check the filter to confirm you only have numbers in the column.

In column D find and replace:

<a onclick="openPDF('

. . . with nothing, and then find and replace:

', '')">

with a '~'. Use the text to columns delimited tool to separate by the ~ so that the dodcument types are shifted to column E.

7. Sort the worksheet by column D and then select the rows with only the links listed in column D. Copy and paste to the second worksheet. Now is a good time to add headings for each column. Copy the information created in step 2 to Sheet3, selecting only the columns with headings and the rows below them. Enter this formula:

=VLOOKUP($C2,Sheet3!$A:$G,COLUMN(B1),FALSE)

. . . in column F on Sheet2 next to the data with the links. [Here I'm using the VLOOKUP hack described in the April 25, 2015 tip of the night. Click here.] Note that in order to get this formula to work you will probably need to copy and remove an unidentified character in column A on Sheet3 which appears as a blank space.

Pull the formula in Column F across to column J (CTRL + R) and then pull it down (CTRL + D). See Figure 7. Paste in the values and add in the headings "Date Received/Filed"; "Document"; "Description"; "Motion #" and "Filing User" in columns F to J.

8. Go through the index that has been created and mark off the links to the documents you are interested in downloading. Copy the links for these documents from column D and save links to a text file. See Fig. 8.

9. Now we'll make use of DownloadThemAll plug-in for FireFox. [Note that for this use of DTA I am indebted to description on Leniel Macaferi's blog. See here. ] Open FireFox and go to DownloadThemAll Manager See Fig. 9.

10. Right click in the white space and select Advanced . . . Import from File. Change the extension to .txt and browse to the text file you created in step 8.

11. A new window will open with the links to your filings. Highlight all of the files and right click and choose 'Check Selected Item(s)'. Select a folder to save them in and click 'Start!'.

12. Voila. You have the files you need and a index you can use to quickly download other filings (made up to this point in time) in the future.


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