Can the Notice of Deposition allow a non-licensed person to record your proceeding?
Please be aware of the risk to your record and your case. Be sure to read the Notice of Deposition that is served on your office with language such as “We reserve the right to record the deposition by stenographic means or by utilizing digital audio recording equipment or other alternative method of capture.” This is a clue that opposing counsel may digitally record the deposition and not have a licensed court reporter report the proceedings. Or it might simply say “The deposition will be taken before a Notary Public qualified to administer an oath in and for the State of California…” This could leave it open for anyone who is not a licensed court reporter in California, but who is a Notary Public, to record your proceeding. To be sure you have a licensed reporter cover your proceeding, an example of the language a notice might contain would be “The deposition will be taken before a licensed California stenographer.” The California license the court reporter holds allows the reporter to swear in witnesses.
A “digital reporter” is a person who sits with a digital recorder and makes notes along the way to be referenced by a transcriptionist, or more than one, at a later time to produce a transcript. A “digital reporter” is not licensed/certified by the State of California as a court reporter. They cannot produce a transcript in real time. They cannot provide rough draft transcripts. Their digital files may be broken up and dispersed to many different individuals in unknown locations to produce a final product. Passing through the internet to many different end points, the security of these files and the information contained within is unknown at this time. Software and products are on the market which anyone can purchase to manipulate audio/digital recordings.
Producing these uncertified and inadmissible transcripts in this manner is not cheaper. You pay for the time of the digital recorder and then you still need to pay for an unknown transcriptionist, who can only transcribe what they hear and understand.
Bill AB 424, a bill to educate lawyers that transcripts prepared by uncertified and unlicensed transcriptionists are inadmissible as evidence in court, sponsored by CalDRA and supported by the National Association, was passed unanimously on the Assembly Floor.
Protect your record and your case by hiring a licensed court reporter.