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.