Court Reporters Working in Court in California

Saturday I attended an all-day seminar presented by the Deposition Reporters Association of California, “Covering the Courts – What Every Agency and Freelancer Needs to Know.”  Things are changing with the budget crisis in California, and court reporters are being laid off throughout the state.  Because of the layoffs, there are a myriad of questions about procedures, fees, and the logistics of having a court reporter available for a civil case.

Attorneys have to bring their court reporter to court for civil cases in certain districts in California, and they are turning to the court reporting firms that they use to do depositions.  If freelancers are going into court, they need to learn the rules that apply to not only the district they are reporting in, but also the rules of the courthouse.  One thing that the DRA panel emphasized, every courthouse is different.  There is little conformity throughout the state.

There are transcript guidelines that differ from deposition transcripts.  The folio rates court reporters are allowed to charge are cited in the Government Code section 69950(b).  It was suggested that court reporters go to the websites of the different districts to download forms for appeals, waiver of deposits, and Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore.

One official from the Vista Court in San Diego advised everyone that StenoCast is not allowed in their courthouse; that wires were mandatory for realtime.  Yet in the downtown San Diego Courthouse, StenoCast is allowed.  This evidences the lack of conformity even within a district.

Bottom line:  Things are changing fast and court reporters and agencies need to understand the rules.


@rosaliekramm  Twitter

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2 replies
  1. Jeff Eaton says:

    I wonder how the courts can regulate transcript rates for nonsalaried reporters, when the attorneys are being forced to bring their own reporters. Utah had their codes for rates on transcripts, but that all went to the wayside when they let the reporters go. Regulations are for the courts paying the bills, not for the attorneys paying the bills. How can courts regulate a third party contract for work? They only place a court can regulate payment is when appeals by the courts are requested, but when the attorneys are paying for the appellate transcripts, again the courts are not paying and their regulations do not apply to third party contracts for work. Otherwise, courts should be able to tell attorneys what to bill, and also who can be on certain cases according to what the attorneys charge their clients. Also, how can courts regulate what reporters bring into court such as StenoCast when attorneys are paying the bills? The courts shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways, to control the reporting pools with restrictions and not paying the bills, keeping technology from being applied and advancing so audio has consequence in the court arenas. I appreciate any further comments.

  2. Lynette Mueller says:

    I have been working in the state of Tennessee for nearly 11 years now. The landscape has always been that attorneys hire their own reporters for motions, hearings, and trials. From talking with my fellow reporters from other parts of the state, it seems that procedures differ a bit from region to region. For example, in west Tennessee where I live, the defense attorney hires the reporter for a trial; while in east Tennessee, the plaintiff’s attorney hires the reporter. We also have the rule that if all attorneys want access to the transcript, they must share in the reporter’s attendance. If they should decide not to share, they will absolutely have no right to transcript access. Each reporter sets their own rates for civil trials. Your state certainly has lots of hurdles to overcome in the coming months as you try to negotiate and manage how parties and attorneys will go forward to ensure an accurate record is made for all judicial proceedings. Good luck to you all!

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