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The Huseby Journal

The Importance of Hiring a Court Reporter for Trials in California

Many will be surprised to learn that not every state is able to provide court reporters for civil litigants in court proceedings. California’s budget continues to prevent them from providing this service – This goes for most of the counties in California. Some of the largest, most well-known counties that have been affected are Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and San Diego.

Civil appeals have been severely impacted, which is to be expected. The Court of Appeal stresses the importance of preparing a complete and accurate record, by enforcing three rules: “first, take great care to prepare a complete record; second, if it is not in the record, it did not happen; and third, when in doubt, refer back to rules one and two.” This is noted by Reed Smith as well, in their blog post – reedsmith.com/en/perspectives/2014/09/why-you-need-a-court-reporter-to-set-the-record-st.

Lack of an adequate record for appeal may be grounds for dismissal. Without being provided a court reporter in this situation, you have two options. The first is to privately hire your own court reporter and the second is to submit a “settled statement,” which must describe all of the testimony that occurred.

With a settled statement comes the risk that the opposition may object to your version of the testimony and the trial court will have to make a decision – which often takes months. This can lead to a never-ending nightmare. The first option – to privately hire your own court reporter – is clearly the wise choice to make, just make sure that you are following all of the local rules in the superior court.

A list of counties along with their local rules in the superior court is provided by Reed Smith at this link: files.reedsmith.com/files/uploads/alert-attachments/alert14228_attach.pdf