| by Heather Duncan, Esq.
When preparing for a deposition, particularly a deposition in a case in which you are not the primary handling attorney, it is important to ascertain where the case was filed. There are important differences between the California and the Federal rules regarding the handling of the original transcript and the right of a deponent to review and make changes.
Since 2007, the Federal Rules have been distinctly different from the California’s Rules of Civil Procedure with respect to a deponent’s right to review, read and sign his or her deposition transcript.
FEDERAL COURT CASES:
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 (e), the deponent does not have an automatic right to review the transcript. Review must be specifically requested before the conclusion of the deposition, or it is waived. Upon request, the deponent is allowed 30 days after notification to review the transcript and make changes.
It is not the role of the court reporter to ask whether the witness would like to read and sign the transcript. In fact, the reporter should refrain from doing so to avoid potentially interfering with the strategy of the attorneys to the action.
If no review is requested, FRCP 30(f)(1) directs the court reporter to seal the deposition in an envelope bearing the title of the action and the deponents’ name and send it directly to the attorney who scheduled the deposition.
CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT CASES:
In contrast to the federal rules, the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2025.520 expressly and automatically allows the deponent 30 days from the date of notification to sign the original deposition transcript and make any changes.
Under CCP 2025.520, the transcript is sealed and sent to the noticing attorney only after the expiration of the time allowed for reviewing and signing the original transcript by the deponents. By statute that time is 30 days.
California Workers’ Compensation cases also allow for an automatic 30 day read and sign under CCP 2025.520.