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Court Reporter's ipad cord at a deposition

Court Reporters Beware – the Danger of Frayed Cords

I was lucky enough to report an electrical engineer this week.  His credentials are PH.D., P.E., and CFEI.  I had set up for real-time with my iPads on the conference room table.  Before the deposition began, the witness turned to me and said in a kind voice, “You need to throw this away.  It’s very dangerous.”  He had picked up my iPad charging cord.  Unbeknownst to me, the deposition was about whether a faulty wire had caused a huge fire.

After the deposition I thanked the witness for warning me about my dangerous cord.  The other attorneys, whom specialize in fire accident cases, all chimed in telling me about past cases they had been involved in where a bent cord, smashed cord, frayed cord had caused catastrophic fires.  I did some research about what they were telling me and was stunned to find out the following:

1. Even though an iPhone charger only puts out 5 volts at 5 watts/1 amp (an iPad charger puts out 12 watts/2.1 amps) it is more than enough power to cause overheating and the beginning of a fire.  A frayed cable (like mine pictured above) can cook the battery by causing a short circuit, which again could cause a fire.

2. One attorney mentioned a case because of a bent power cord.  My research tells me power and extension cords that are pinched, pierced, bent or otherwise damaged do not look threatening, but can cause serious fire and shock hazards.

3. Pressing furniture against an outlet (i.e., behind the couch) where a cord is plugged in is a potential fire hazard.  Don’t have bent cords.

4. In your kitchen, don’t pinch the cord behind an appliance or wrap it around the toaster or kettle.  That can damage the casing or melt the insulation around the wire.

5. Don’t run cords under carpets to keep them out of sight.  The carpet will keep the cord from properly cooling, and it is easy to damage the cord with foot traffic or furniture.

6. Keep your pets from chewing power cords – super dangerous.

7. Never patch power and extension cords.  Watch out for corroded or bent plug blades.  It is better to replace the appliance than tape a damaged cord.

8. Don’t daisy chain cords together or use extension cords for a long-term purpose.  Get a new outlet if you have to plug something in far from your existing outlets.

9. Dryer thermostats can fail allowing the dryer to overheat.  If the main heating element fails, it can send molten metal into the drum, igniting your clothes.

10. Get into the habit of unplugging your appliances (coffee maker, toaster, kettle).  Even though the appliance is not on, it is still being energized when it is plugged in.  This habit plugged in.  This habit can save not only energy, but lives.

11. One of the attorneys mentioned that is wife was foolish enough one time  to leave the house with the dishwasher going.  I mentioned I do that all the time.  The witness and attorneys looked at me like I was crazy.  Their serious advice is not to leave the house when any major appliance is running.

12. The witness said to never, ever have an energized device (laptop, iPhone, iPad…) rest on your bedding.  If you have a habit of scoping or proofing in bed, it is incredibly dangerous.  When your device is being energized, it gets hot, and the bedding doesn’t allow air into the fans, and a fire can easily happen.

I have read newspaper articles, seen warnings on the television about fires and electrical appliances and cords at Christmastime from lights and always thought to myself, “That would never happen to me.”  What I learned at my deposition was it happens all of the time to all kinds of people.  One of the things I love about being a court reporter is I get to meet all kinds of brilliant people.  This deposition of an electrical engineer changed my life. I promised him I would be careful forever more.

Deposition Arbitration Room

How Paralegals + Legal Assistants Can Benefit from Court Reporting Technology in the Cloud

Having worked with many law firms throughout my career in the court reporting industry, I have found that leveraging technology is a powerful way to save a tremendous amount of time and create efficiencies. Using a cloud-based, cyber secure calendaring system and repository allows 24/7/365 access to vital, time sensitive information and documents.

The following services are ways paralegals, legal assistants, and attorneys can utilize cloud-based technology:

1.  Online repository that houses transcripts and exhibits/notices/correspondence for all of your law firm’s cases. For security purposes, check to ensure the repository is SSA 16 compliant as well as the backup locations offsite are encrypted over VPNs and SSL certificates are used.

2.  Mobile app that gives the same access to the transcripts/exhibits/correspondence with the same cyber secure benefits mentioned in Item 1.

3.  Online calendar that shows all of your calendared hearings, depositions, and trials. You do not have to worry whether or not a matter is on the court reporting company’s calendar or if the time/location are correct. Just go online and check.

4.  The calendar would also be available on a mobile app and includes Mapquest directions.

5.  Invoices and Statements: You can check and see if an invoice was paid by logging in or checking the mobile app.

For more information or to learn about our cloud-based technology (Case 24/7), please call us at 800.939.0080.  We would love to work with you.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Attorneys and Paralegals working with Court Reporters in Court

Best Practices for Attorneys re the Court Reporter at Hearings

In many county courthouses throughout California, Friday is law and motion day. Every hour a new calendar is called by the judge with approximately 10 matters.  Attorneys will hire a court reporter to report their hearing if they feel it is important to have a record of the proceedings for a later date.  Many attorneys have more than one matter to cover on any given Friday and will rush in, argue their motion, and then immediately leave.  In these situations, it is tough for the court reporter to get the appearances.  Even though the judge will have counsel state their appearances for the record, later it is incumbent upon the court reporter to track down the address, phone number, and email address of each attorney.  Using the California Bar Attorney Search is helpful, but sometimes attorneys say their names incredibly fast, mumble, or have a common name that is shared by many other attorneys in California.

As a court reporter who has reported hundreds of hearings, I thought it might be helpful to suggest best practices to ensure an accurate and quick transcript.

  1. Find time to hand the court reporter your card with information written on it including who you are representing.
  2. When you state your appearance, speak slowly and clearly.
  3. If you cite a case or points and authorities, be ready to email the documents to the court reporter.
  4. When reading a cite, read slowly and enunciate each word. Don’t feel as if you need to rush and skip over the small words.
  5. If you are appearing via CourtCall, state your name and law firm clearly, and spell your last name.
  6. Let the reporter know if you will need a transcript of the hearing. The court reporter will not assume you automatically want the transcript. Many attorneys don’t want the transcript until and unless there is an appeal.
  7. If you know you will want a transcript before the hearing, have whomever is calling the court reporting agency to let the reporter know beforehand a transcript is being requested to be immediately written up. The agency will not send a court reporter who has a backlog and might not be able to quickly get the transcript out.

Court reporters want to do a good job for you. The more information they have, the more efficient they can be in getting out a transcript.

 

@rosaliekramm

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)