I had previously written a short blog entry on my open source PACER API. The open source project is ongoing, but I have recently devoted my efforts to Docket Alarm and its online PACER REST API, which is now substantially complete.
Docket Alarm's API allows users to search for docket information from Federal courts and pull the information using a simple REST interface. The API has a wide variety of potential applications, especially for due diligence. For example, an application that assists in originating loans could use the API to automatically look up a potential creditor's bankruptcy or litigation history.
The API can search by name, geographic location, date range and a number of other fields. Additional fields can be added by request. Once a search is complete, the API can access the case's docket text and associated meta-data. The meta-data contains fields like the judge's name, all of the party names, and the lawyers associated with each party. Finally, the API allows you to pull individual documents as PDFs. Put together, it is a relatively complete set of features for a variety of applications.
The API only exposes a small subset of the features the features available on the greater website Docket Alarm. If requested, additional features can be added.
The API specification is currently live and fully documented. Documentation is located here. If you are interested in using this feature, please let me know.