By now, most of us understand that during a deposition the court reporter is an impartial officer of the court entrusted with taking down a verbatim record of what is said. What may not be as clear is that the reporter’s duty of neutrality extends well beyond the time on the record.
Taking expert depositions can be stressful, intimidating, and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right planning and preparation, you can consistently accomplish your goals. So, what do you do?
First, determine your goals for the deposition. Are you looking for holes in the expert’s opinions? Are you trying to get helpful testimony? Are you probing for evidence of bias or inadequate qualifications? Do you want to try to exclude the expert from testifying to the opinions at all? All of the above? Well, not really. It does not make a lot of sense to establish that an opposing expert who can give helpful testimony is biased and unqualified.
The following is a quick review on the court reporter’s duty to remain neutral and impartial and the attorney’s duty to protect the attorney work product.
We all know that the California Business & Professions Code, California Code of Civil Procedure, and California Code of Regulations all require California court reporters to uphold the strictest standards of professional neutrality and impartiality.
During a deposition the court reporter is a neutral and impartial Officer of the Court, entrusted with the job of creating a record of every word spoken when the parties are on the record. The court reporter is not an agent of any one party or witness.
California court reporters must always: “Act without bias toward, or prejudice against, any parties or their attorneys and may not do anything that would compromise their impartiality.” (California Professional Standards of Practice, Section 2475(b)).
In this month’s post, Network Deposition Services would like to help clarify what constitutes grounds for going on and off the record at a deposition and how and when a deposition may be suspended.
During a deposition you are “on the record.” That means that the court reporter is transcribing everything that is being said by anyone in the deposition room and any legal videographer is recording the same. Simply stating “off the record,” is rarely, if ever, grounds for the court reporter to stop transcribing what is being said.