| by Heather Duncan, Esq.
The Court Reporters Board of California periodically publishes a variety of “Best Practices” as a way to provide guidance on situations not expressly set out in statute or regulation. Below are some helpful excerpts from the Board’s recommendations for handling deposition exhibits:
- If counsel wishes to substitute an exhibit for any reason, i.e., a clean copy of the exhibit or a duplicate was discovered and a new document is going in, whatever the situation is should be clearly stated in a stipulation, after which the court reporter may do so.
- If an attorney becomes angry and leaves the deposition while the remaining attorney continues with a record, exhibits offered to the court reporter after another attorneys leaves the room are to be accepted and attached to the deposition transcript.
- If a request is received to add an exhibit subsequent to the conclusion of the deposition, the court reporter may do so only with written stipulation of all parties.
- If a doctor refuses to release his file which has been marked as an exhibit to the custody of the court reporter, it should be clearly stated on the record that a copy service should be sent and who will be responsible for those arrangements.
- Some attorneys are starting to use electronic exhibits in cases where many deponents will be referencing the same documents, such as a medical chart. At the beginning of such cases, a stipulation needs to be entered between all parties regarding the use of electronic exhibits and retention and handling of what is to be considered the original exhibit.
Keeping the above recommendations in mind when dealing with deposition exhibits can make the process faster and easier for attorneys, courts reporters and clients.