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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.

CA CCP 2025.510(a) - Court Reporters

CA CCP 2025.510(a) Court Reporters Transcribe Depositions

Last month I was a court reporter for an all-day deposition. At the end of the day, as I was packing up, I overheard an attorney mention the case might settle.  In an effort to do the right thing, I offered to hold my notes and not transcribe the deposition for a few days to save everyone money.  BIG MISTAKE.  I had this conversation with only one party being present.  The attorney was grateful for the offer and agreed to let me know if they would need the transcript.

Our firm’s turnaround time of transcripts is seven business days. On the tenth day, the attorney that was not present for the “hold notes” conversation after the deposition called wanting to know what was going on, “Is there gamesmanship happening?  We count on your firm getting the transcript out at least by the tenth day.  Why isn’t the transcript out yet?”

CA CCP 2025.510(a) states: “Unless the parties agree otherwise, the testimony at any deposition recorded by stenographic means shall be transcribed.”

I apologized to the attorney, admitted I had made a mistake in offering to save the parties money, and promised to get the transcript out immediately.

While my intent was to do the right thing, save litigation costs, I was wrong and should have thought of the consequences of not having all parties present for the conversation.

It is also interesting to note, CA CCP 2025.510(b) states: “The party noticing the deposition shall bear the cost of the transcription, unless the court, on motion and for good cause shown, orders that the cost be borne or shared by another party.”

In the above scenario, if the attorney whom had asked me not to transcribe my notes asked me to never transcribe my notes, and the other side wanted the transcript, the noticing attorney who didn’t want the transcript would be responsible for payment unless the court orders otherwise.

Being a great court reporter means to always be conscious and transparent in every agreement and conversation.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

CA Rules of Court 8.130

California Rules of Court – 2017 Reporter’s transcript

Reading through the 2017 California Rules of Court regarding court reporter’s transcripts, there are some provisions that are particularly interesting relating to timeliness, the cost of transcripts, and the appellant’s ability to deposit a certified transcript.

APPEAL TRANSCRIPT COST:

8.130(b)(1)(A) The amount specified in the reporter’s written estimate; or (B) An amount calculated as follows:

(i) For proceedings that have NOT been previously been transcribed: $325 per fraction of the day’s proceedings that did not exceed three hours; or $650 per day or fraction that exceeded three hours.

(ii) For proceedings that have previously been transcribed: $80 per fraction of the day’s proceedings that did not exceed three hours, or $160 per day or fraction that exceeded three hours.

(3) Instead of a deposit under (1), the party may substitute:

(A) The reporter’s written waiver of a deposit.  A reporter may waive the deposit for a part of the designated proceedings, but such a waiver replaces the deposit for only that part.

(B) A copy of the Transcript Reimbursement Fund application filed under (c)(1)

(C) A certified transcript of all the proceedings designated by the party.  The transcript must comply with the format requirements of rule 8.144.

 

APPEAL TRANSCRIPT TIMELINESS:

Rule 8.130(d): Superior court clerk’s duties

  1. The clerk must file a party’s notice of designation even if the party does not present the required deposit under (b)(1) or a substitute under (b)(3) with its notice of designation.
  2. The clerk must promptly send the reporter notice of the designation and of the deposit or substitute and notice to prepare the transcript, showing the date the notice was sent to the reporter, when the court receives:
  1. The required deposit under (b)(1);
  2. A reporter’s written waiver of a deposit under (b)(3); or
  3. A copy of the Court Reporters Board’s provisional approval of the party’s application for payment under the Transcript Reimbursement Fund under (c).

Rule 8.130(f): Filing the transcript; copies; payment

  1. Within 30 days after notice is sent under (d)(2), the reporter must prepare and certify an original of the transcript and file it in superior court. The reporter must also file one copy of the original transcript, or more than one copy if multiple appellants equally share the cost of preparing the record (see rule 8.147(a)(2)). Only the reviewing court can extend the time to prepare the reporter’s transcript (see rule 8.60).
  2. When the transcript is completed, the reporter must notify all parties to the appeal that the transcript is complete, bill each designating party at the statutory rate, and send a copy of the bill to the superior court clerk. The clerk must pay the reporter from that party’s deposited funds and refund any excess deposit or notify the party of any additional funds needed. In a multiple reporter case, the clerk must pay each reporter who certifies under penalty of perjury that his or her transcript portion is completed.
  3. If the appeal is abandoned or is dismissed before the reporter has filed the transcript, the reporter must inform the superior court clerk of the cost of the portion of the transcript that the reporter has completed. The clerk must pay that amount to the reporter from the appellant’s deposited funds and refund any excess deposit.
  4. On request, and unless the superior court orders otherwise, the reporter must provide the Court of Appeal or any party with a copy of the reporter’s transcript in computer-readable format. Each computer-readable copy must comply with the requirements of rule 8.144(a)(4).

Filing court transcripts for the Court of Appeal is complicated. My staff have found that many attorneys are not sure when the court reporter is to begin finalizing the appeal transcript.  Receiving formal notice of designations under (d)(2) from the superior court clerk triggers the start time in which the court reporter can produce the appeal transcript.  Our company has had frequent requests from attorneys asking us to begin an appeal transcript before the provisions in (d)(2) occurs.  The transcript is finalized, but the court reporter’s hands are tied without receiving the new appeal case number and how many designations/volumes are formally ordered.

Court reporters that provide court reporting services in the California superior courts (hearings and/or trials) study Rule 8.130 – California Rules of Court.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

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