KRS 454.280 protects the integrity of the record

If opposing counsel has to call an out-of-state court reporting service, should that mean you have to pay higher prices?

Decision-makers who procure the services of court reporting firms through preferred vendor lists or long-term contracts with national court reporting firms can be deceived by what appears to be a discount on page rates and/or appearance fees. Additional charges can easily be padded back into an invoice with other charges: video rates, bundled services, transcript summary fees, word index charges, exorbitant delivery fees, less generous page formats, and other “creative” charges.

National firms do not have court reporters on staff in every venue. Instead, they often subcontract with local reporters, the same local reporters who can save you money by not incorporating the “big business” expense of large overhead, marketing, and sales commissions in every invoice.

But don’t take my word for it. In an opinion sought from the Arizona Law Firm of Jennings, Strouss & Solmon, “Comparison of Costs Between Local Reporters and National Firms,” this is what attorneys have to say: “This comparison shows that the National Firm charges higher rates for most of the deposition services line items depicted in the comparison, resulting in a higher overall cost for deposition services with the National Firm compared with the local Arizona Firm….rates charged by the National Firm are substantially more expensive than the undisclosed court reporting firm.”

The largest corporations’ discounts shouldn’t come at the poorest of litigants’ expense.

Directives that dictate an attorney’s selection in reporting services should also raise legal and ethical red flags. If you believe a contractual relationship exists, arguably you have the right to disclosure of a conflict of interest under the Federal Rules and an opportunity to object. KRS 454.280 forbids contractual relationships between the parties in interest and court reporters. Raising an objection can save you hundreds of dollars per transcript and thousands of dollars over the course of any litigation matter.

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