| by Heather Duncan, Esq.
As of January 1, 2013, depositions taken in cases filed in the California Superior Courts are subject to a seven-hour deposition limit under the California Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.290.
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this recent law as it relates to court reporters in a deposition.
WHAT IS CALIFORNIA’S SEVEN HOUR DEPOSITION LIMIT?
CCP Section 2025.290 limits, with stated exceptions, a deposition to seven hours.
WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE SEVEN-HOUR DEPOSITION LIMIT?
Exceptions to the law are as follows:
- The parties have stipulated that the law does not apply to either a particular deposition or an entire case
- The deposition is of an “expert witness”
- The case has been deemed “complex”
- The case is an employment law case
- The deponent is a person most qualified to be deposed on an issue or matter.
IS THE REPORTER REQUIRED TO KEEP TRACK OF ON-THE-RECORD TIME?
No, there is no legal requirement for the court reporter to track the time.
IF AT A DEPO, THE SEVEN-HOUR LIMIT IS REACHED, SHOULD THE REPORTER (i) STOP THE DEPO, (ii) REFUSE TO CONTINUE WRITING, (iii) NOTE IN THE RECORD THAT THE SEVEN HOURS HAVE BEEN USED, (iv) IN THE TRANSCRIPT, INCLUDE SOME NOTATION WHEN THE SEVEN-HOUR POINT WAS REACHED?
The court reporter has no authority to stop a deposition because a seven-hour limit has been reached nor to refuse to continue writing. There is no legal requirement for the court reporter to annotate the deposition transcript in any way when the time limit has been used or reached.
WHAT IF ONE ATTORNEY WANTS TO GO OFF THE RECORD PURSUANT TO THE SEVEN-HOUR LIMIT AND THE OTHER SIDE WANTS TO STAY ON THE RECORD?
CCP 2025.470 would still apply as far as the court reporter is concerned. This section states that the deposition officer may not suspend the taking of the testimony without the stipulation of all parties present unless a party demands the deposition be suspended in order for that party to move for a protective order. The best practice is always for the court reporter to remain on the record as there is a remedy in the form of a court order for testimony to be stricken, but there is no remedy for recapturing testimony that was not reported.