BEWARE – Witnesses Unintentionally Waive Right to Read/Sign at their Deposition

Under Federal Rule 30, Depositions by Oral Examination, the court reporter has an obligation to certify not only that the witness was duly sworn and that the deposition accurately records the witness’ testimony, but also the court reporter must note in the certificate whether a review was requested and, if so, must attach any changes the deponent makes during the 30-day period.

According to Rule 30(e)(1), On request by the deponent or a party before the deposition is completed, the deponent must be allowed 30 days after being notified by the officer that the transcript is available in which:

  • To review the transcript
  • If there are any changes in form or substance, to sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for the change

The key phrase that the court reporter has to respond to is, “On request by the deponent or a party before the deposition is completed.” If the witness and/or their counsel does NOT request read/sign before the deposition is completed, unless the court orders otherwise, the officer must seal the deposition in an envelope or package bearing the title of the action and marked, “Deposition of {witness’ name} and must promptly send it to the attorney who arranged for the transcript. Therefore, the review of the transcript and ability to make changes is waived.


The following is sample certificate language for court reporters to use for Federal cases:

I, Rosalie A. Kramm, Certified Shorthand Reporter licensed in the State of California, License No. 5469, hereby certify that the deponent was by me first duly sworn, and the foregoing testimony was reported by me and was thereafter transcribed with computer-aided transcription; that the foregoing is a full, complete, and true record of said proceedings.

I further certify that I am not of counsel or attorney for either of any of the parties in the foregoing proceeding and caption named or in any way interested in the outcome of the cause in said caption.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this day:

_______ Reading and Signing was requested.

_______ Reading and Signing was waived.

_______ Reading and signing was not requested.



Register for Updates

Register to receive the latest news and updates when we post. We regularly publish no-fluff articles on our website. The articles range from topics that specifically apply to attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, or court reporters, to topics that apply to most legal professionals.

Thank you for registering for email updates!