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Are you being charged for non-testimony pages?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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Not All Court Reporting Firms Define "Transcript" The Same

Upon review of random invoices, some court reporting firms charge full transcript page rates for the word index, an extra cover/title page, a copy of the notification letter to the witness, blank errata pages, and blank witness signature pages.  Some do not.  One firm charged for 3 photocopied pages of CCP 2025.520 and their own disclosure pages at full transcript rates.  Expedite, technical, and expert rates applied to all non-testimony pages.

Re the invoices reviewed, the increase in costs to counsel ranged from 13.7% - 37.27%.  (Please note this percentage increase does not go to the court reporter; it stays with the firm.)

Many times invoices are sent separately from the transcript, which can make it less likely a one will check the quantity shown on the invoice re the line item “Transcript.” 

California mandates the transcript format.  The non-testimony pages in many instances did not adhere to the code.

Charges for condensed transcripts, handling, processing, delivery or “litigation support package” were not addressed.

Suggested Remedies

As the noticing party, before booking a proceeding with a reporting firm, confirm what their definition is of a transcript. Does it include any non-testimony pages, other than the typical cover page, appearance and index pages, and reporter’s certificate page?  To what do expert, technical and expedite rates apply?

Ask that your invoice be sent with the transcript, whether it’s in paper or digital only.  If you are insurance defense counsel, ask that you be provided a courtesy copy of the invoice with the transcript.

Check your invoices re what the actual “transcript” line item reflects and request an adjustment to your invoice, if needed.

Reminder:  The CCP permits counsel to object to a reporting firm up to three days before a scheduled proceeding.

Perhaps keep a list of firms practicing this type of invoicing, then at the start of litigation/discovery provide opposing counsel a list of firm(s) to which you object.

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