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Find Success in Going the Extra Mile

You’ve been told to “go the extra mile” for as long as you can remember, but did you know if you went that extra mile you’d likely be alone.  Few are willing, nor even want, to go the extra mile, thinking to themselves, “Why am I working so hard when no one else is making the effort?”   That’s why that extra mile can be such a desolate place, yet one that’s ripe with opportunities.
Get to your job early and stay late.  Be helpful, ask questions, and offer assistance.  Touch base with clients and peers.  Do your homework and practice your skills.
Every day ask yourself what others aren’t doing and do that one extra thing you can think of.
Go the extra mile consistently and you’ll find the success you’re looking for.
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Don’t Throw Away that Battery Tester Just Yet!

As a court reporter and deposition videographer, I watched this YouTube video sent to me today by email and thought, wow, that’s great, no more tossing half-used batteries!  So, after turning the office upside-down trying to find a few dead batteries to test, and giving it that old court reporter try, it just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read or see on the Internet. 

Don’t believe me? Try this for yourself, just don’t try it on the job!  #soconvincing

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Are Jefferson County’s Deposition Transcripts a Public Record?

With the days to comment on the Proposed Changes to Jefferson County’s Local Practice Rules quickly coming to a close, I wanted to go back and revisit the proposals and think them through again. I’d already emailed Eric Darnell, Circuit Court Administrator, with my thoughts, but while rereading the Proposed Changes I came away with a question that I think needs to be answered:

Are Jefferson County’s deposition transcripts a public record?

Please consider the following Proposed Changes to Jefferson County’s Local Practice Rules, and particularly what I’ve highlighted:

“CR 30.06 notwithstanding, only the cd/DVD/disc/videotape of a deposition shall be filed with the Clerk. The original hardcopy of the deposition shall be maintained by the party noticing the deposition and shall be made available to any party for inspection and/or copying. Excerpts of relevant portions of any deposition may be offered in support of and attached to any pleading with the Court.”

If you’ve ever looked at the online case docket sheet, you know that you cannot determine whose deposition has been noticed or taken. You cannot determine if a deposition has taken place or been transcribed. You cannot determine who the noticing attorney is, and you cannot determine before whom the deposition was taken (court reporter). Therefore, you cannot easily access what I thought was a public record, the original transcript of a deposition. 

The proposed rules state “The original hard copy of the deposition shall be maintained by the party noticing the deposition.” What if a deposition was taken and not transcribed? There is no way to tell if there is a transcript and if there is no transcript, it would be terribly difficult to determine who the court reporter was so you could call and ask, “Hey, was this deposition transcribed?” What if the transcript is lost or misplaced while being copied or reviewed by the parties? Does that mean there was nothing transcribed?

Are Jefferson County’s deposition transcripts a public record?

In addition to the proposals being problematic for the public, I question the practicality of the wording “shall be made available to any party for inspection and/or copying.”

What is the Court’s definition of “party”?

Is the original transcript a public record? If so, by this language, is the noticing attorney obligated to give or sell the public copies of the original transcript and/or monitor their review of the original transcript and exhibits? If the noticing attorney is obligated to do the above, what is a reasonable charge for preparing an exact copy of the original transcript, and/or what is a reasonable charge for monitoring the handling and review of the original transcript, and what is a reasonable time to produce the original transcript for review and/or copying?

What procedures are required to be followed to protect the integrity of the original transcript and exhibits?

As a court reporter for many years in Jefferson County, KY, I suggest the Court maintain the status quo until all issues concerning the proposed changes are resolved, that is, the noticing attorney maintaining the sealed original transcript until such time as the court deems it necessary to be opened, thereby maintaining its integrity and reducing the chance of mishap.

KY Comp Board Clarifies One-Sided Page Requirements

Recently we received an 11 1/2 x 14 1/2 envelope addressed to Taylor Court Reporting Kentucky in our Louisville office. As I held the envelope, experience told me what was inside.  The envelope was just the right size and just the right weight to contain a returned transcript. As I began to unseal and open the envelope I braced myself for the added work any returned transcript brings.

The brown-clasped envelope had a return address of Kentucky Labor Cabinet, Department of Workers’ Claims, Frankfort, Kentucky.  Inside was indeed a transcript, an unbound, single-sided transcript with a few color exhibits, a few single-sided exhibits, and a very few two-sided exhibits; an official-looking letter sat atop the hundred-plus page transcript.  Adjusting my glasses I began reading the letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern.”

The letter read “Effective March 1, 2013, depositions, hearing transcripts, and other pleadings or documents with printing on both sides of the paper will no longer be accepted by the Department of Workers’ Claims.  If you wish the enclosed document to be filed with the Department of Workers’ Claims, you will need to resubmit as one-sided documents.

“If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (502) 782-4578 and I will be happy to assist you.  Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”

The letter was signed “Sincerely, Fran Davis, Director of Information & Research.”

“Goodness,” I thought, “the State of Kentucky spent $5.43 to return a hundred-plus page single-sided transcript with only three pages of double-sided original exhibits?  What sense does that make?”  Not following the logic here at all, I decided to call Frankfort and inquire into the reasoning behind returning the transcript.

I called the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims and spoke with Fran Davis and asked for a clarification of the single-sided page requirement. Fran was pleasant and polite as we spoke and she told me she specifically remembered our transcript, that she was the one that made the call to return the transcript.  Fran explained the hassle double-sided documents can cause at times, older copiers and frequent machine jams were mentioned.

I asked, “Does the Commissioner want court reporters to make physical changes to original exhibits, taking what was tendered and entered into the record as a two-sided document and change it to a single-sided, multi-page document?”

Fran thoughtfully heard me out as I shared my concerns and objections with her. She thanked me for calling and sharing my concerns.  She asked for some time to speak with the Commissioner and get some clarification on the single-sided document policy.  She said she’d get back with me so I gave her my contact information and hoped for the best.

Knowing how slowly the wheels of the government can turn, and knowing the 4th of July was the following day, I got busy copying and scanning the double-sided exhibits and converting them into single-sided, multi-page exhibits.  I thought it could be days, even weeks, before I heard from Fran again, but that was not to be the case.

After speaking with Fran, I believe she understood the gravity of manipulating original records.  I think after we hung up she immediately sought out the Commissioner and shared my concerns. The outcome of their discussions is exactly what I had hoped for.

I am, with Fran’s permission, sharing with you her email to me containing the Commissioner’s updated and clarified position on the filing of depositions,  hearing transcripts, and other pleadings or documents with printing on both sides of the paper:

“Hi Linda,

“I have clarified with the Commissioner and we will accept the transcripts along with the double sided exhibits when you receive them in that fashion.  It is only the transcripts that need to be single sided as we do not wish for you to alter the original exhibits.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention.  If you would share this information with the others that had questions relative to exhibits, that would be terrific.  Let me know if you have any other questions and I will be happy to assist or seek clarification.

“Have a terrific 4th!

“Fran Davis,

“Director of Information and Research

“KY Department of Workers’ Claims

“502-782-4578

Francesa.davis@ky.gov”

So, there you have it!  Transcripts are to be filed with printing on one side only; exhibits can be doubled sided if they were tendered and entered as such.