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New California Law Certified Shorthand Reporters at Arbitrations – CCCP 1282.5

Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 1007 which gives a party to an arbitration the right to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing as the official record. The bill was authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski, who states, “People are often forced into binding private arbitration just by purchasing common goods or services, so it’s especially important for their protection that a court reporter is present to transcribe the proceedings and create an official record.” And as Larry Doyle, legislative representative of the Conference of California Bar Associations, opines, “In arbitrations, as in all legal proceedings, the existence of a reporter’s transcript can be absolutely essential to obtaining justice.”  Doyle goes on to say, “Without such a record, the reviewing court must assume that the arbitration award is correct, even if the record – if it existed – might clearly show error or misconduct.”

The bill sets forth the following:

  1. The bill would require a party requesting a Certified Shorthand Reporter to make his or her request in a demand, response, answer, or counterclaim related to the arbitration, or at a pre-hearing scheduling conference at which a deposition, proceeding or hearing is being calendared.
  2. The bill would also require the party requesting the transcript to incur the expense of the Certified Shorthand Reporter, except as specified in a consumer arbitration.
  3. The bill would authorize a party whose request has been refused by the arbitrator to petition the court for an order to compel the arbitrator to grant the party’s request to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing, and for an order to stay any deposition, proceeding, or hearing pending the court’s determination of the petition.

Now CCCP 1282.5 reads as follows:

1282.5. (a)(1) A party to an arbitration has the right to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding or hearing.  The transcript shall be the official record of the deposition, proceeding, hearing.

(2) A party requesting a Certified Shorthand Reporter shall make his or her request in or at either of the following:

(A) A demand for arbitration, or a response, answer, or counterclaim to a demand for arbitration.

(B) A pre-hearing scheduling conference at which a deposition, proceeding, or hearing is being calendared.

(b) If an arbitration agreement does not provide for a Certified Shorthand Reporter, the party requesting the transcript shall incur the expense of the Certified Shorthand Reporter. However, in a consumer arbitration, a Certified Shorthand Reporter shall be provided upon request of an indigent consumer, as defined in Section 1284.3, at the expense of the nonconsumer party.

(c) If an arbitrator refuses to allow a party to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing pursuant to this section, the party may petition the court for an order to compel the arbitrator to grant the party’s request.  The petition may include a request for an order to stay any deposition, proceeding, or hearing related to the arbitration pending the court’s determination of the petition.

(d) This section does not add grounds for vacating an arbitration award pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1286.2 or for correcting an arbitration award pursuant to Section 1286.6.

Certified Shorthand Reporters are an invaluable part of the judicial process.

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