In complex litigation, and particularly trademark, patent litigation, court reporters often are asked to designate portions of transcripts as CONFIDENTIAL and/or ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY. The procedure to take out the designated portions is complex, and I have written about my method of doing so in a past blog. Many times the attorneys will send the court reporter and legal videographer a protective order and require a signature by the court reporter and legal videographer that they will abide by the protective order.
An issue that has come up lately around the country is court reporters are not noting the fact that an attorney during a deposition asks that the transcript be designated CONFIDENTIAL and/or ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY. The transcript is turned in with no notation on the cover page or the job worksheet, and the comment from the reporter when asked is, “I forgot.” The other situation I have seen is the court reporters assume every deposition in a case is CONFIDENTIAL and/or ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY, and past title pages with the designations to the new deposition.
I would suggest that reporters note the request as soon as possible in their deposition notebook or right then and there add the language on their cover page. This is serious business. Not only can a firm lose a client, but in a worst case scenario, a court reporter could be sued.
I am thinking when a whole transcript is designated CONFIDENTIAL and/or ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY, it is easier to forget because the reporter is not required to break up the transcript in different segments. A court reporter’s dream is to have the whole transcript marked CONFIDENTIAL and/or ATTORNEYS’ EYES ONLY as compared to breaking it up in sections.
I believe 98% of the reporters have never made this mistake. At the same time I have seen this happen in the last couple of months with very seasoned, excellent, fantastic court reporters in different parts of the United States.
Court reporters who write patent, trademark depositions typically work extremely hard, and most of the depositions are expedited with video. They are extremely stressful and difficult jobs to get out. This post is a helpful reminder to all of the great court reporters out there. Designations are critical.