A young court reporter asked me this week what I would do if a deposition ends, and then one of the attorneys says, “Oh, I have the doctor’s CV that I forgot to mark as an exhibit. Can you just add it to the exhibits for me, please?” The court reporter wanted to know where to mark it since the deposition had ended.
I told her the attorneys need to go back on the record and formally identify the document so it could be marked for identification.
One of the great lessons as a court reporter is to understand no one is ever your “friend” in a deposition room, and even when everyone seems to be getting along, laughing, and talking about their families, the court reporter and legal videographer cannot relax their rules or protection of the record for a second. Attorneys have a job to do, and that is to protect their client’s interests. If a court reporter decides that the other attorneys wouldn’t mind if an exhibit gets added in because it is “just the CV” or “just the notice,” and everyone gets along, there could easily be disaster ahead.
Number one, the attorneys in the deposition room may not be the only counsel in the case, and when other attorneys read the record, it doesn’t make sense that a particular CV is in the record. They will start asking why. Let’s presume the CV is three years old and the doctor’s attorney had a newer one that the noticing attorney didn’t want to get into the record. There is no opportunity for the doctor’s attorney to object to it being in the record. Number two, the doctor’s attorney doesn’t know his witness’ CV is in the record and might be surprised at trial when the doctor is examined on it.
A court reporter has to be very cautious. There is no opportunity to “bend the rules” because everyone seems to be getting along. That would be a recipe for trouble.