How Excellent Court Reporting Can Smooth the Process of Conducting Remote Depositions

The keys to a smooth-running remote deposition are "setting" both locations in advance, coordination during the deposition, and "planning for adversity."

Experienced Court Reporters Make Remote Depositions Easy

Conducting depositions remotely is relatively common in legal proceedings if a witness is not within a reasonable driving distance from the court district. Remote depositions have some obvious benefits, including reducing travel, hotel, and related expenses for witnesses and attorneys, saving time that would have been spent in traveling, mitigating environmental impacts, and more.

Female seated at desk with laptop and stenography machine_Experienced court reporter

On the other hand, there are some unique challenges for conducting remote depositions. This is the case for any sort of meeting or event that occurs simultaneously in more than one location. This is where having excellent court reporting — like Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting, LLC — can help smooth out those difficulties. If you need court reporting services, call us here at (866) 689-1837. We accept orders via email, phone, and via telefax at (866) 870 – 6032.

The keys to a smooth-running remote deposition are “setting” both locations in advance, coordination during the deposition, and “planning for adversity.”

A Court Reporter Prepares the Room Early.

Excellent court reporters always arrive as early as possible to “set” the room in advance for the remote deposition. This is not always possible, but it is the best practice. Attorneys control the factual and legal aspects of a deposition, but a good court reporter controls the setting to ensure that the questions and answers are accurately recorded and transcribed.

“Setting” the room involves having the stenotype and recording machines ready to begin and having paper, exhibit stickers, and other materials ready for immediate use. For remote depositions, “setting” the room involves accomplishing this at both locations. Generally, your excellent court reporter will arrive at least an hour early and be in quick communication with the staff at the remote location. Video, audio, and computer linkages must be tested and adjusted accordingly. If documents and exhibits have already been provided to the attorneys at the remote location, those should also be made ready. If not, then copies should be sent during the “prep stage,” or plans should be made for sending the documents/exhibits in an efficient and timely fashion as the deposition proceeds.

The Difference of an Experienced Human In The Room.

As the start time approaches, good court reporters also check and test to ensure that the video, audio, and computer connections are working at peak performance — or, at least, working sufficiently to accurately relay the questions and receive the responses.

Where possible, it is often best to have the known deposition exhibits marked/stickered in advance. This is true with any deposition, but this is particularly helpful with remote depositions. This is not strictly necessary, and marking exhibits can be done on an ongoing-in-deposition basis. However, everyone will need to have some patience as that is done. This is part of the coordination aspect of a remote deposition.

Another aspect of coordination is to ensure and test the ability to transmit new documents during the deposition. Inevitably, one of the attorneys will want to mark a new document as an exhibit. Possibly, that new document is not in the hands of the attorneys at the remote location. Thus, there must be a method of efficiently transferring a copy (via electronic transmission or even via facsimile). This might involve the necessity to scan the document; good court reporters are prepared for this.

Finally, excellent court reporting services will have possible solutions for unexpected adversity. These can include problems with the internet linkages, problems with the remote service platform, the inability of parties to sign in and “join” the remote meeting, etc. Good court reporters will have various solutions to these types of unexpected events and will resolve the problems as quickly as possible.

Contact Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting Today For Experienced Reporters.

For more information, call the experienced court reporters at Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting. We follow the best practices in order to provide excellent litigation support to our customers. Contact us today to learn about our services and how we can help you.

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Why You Need Depositions Instead of Witness Interviews

Every lawyer knows that witnesses must be contacted and interviewed. But an interview is not enough to properly and thoroughly prepare for trial (at least not for key witnesses). Make no mistake, potential witnesses must be contacted and interviewed. But the main reasons for the interview are to determine if they are a “key” witness and to determine if the testimony of the witness must be taken via a deposition. Interviews are no substitute for depositions.

Why are depositions better than witness interviews?

Why? First, depositions are the best process for “cementing” a witness’s testimony and opinions. An interview is nothing more than that, and interview notes have no use in a trial. You cannot, for example, impeach a witness with interview notes if the witness says something different “on the stand” from what they said during the interview. By contrast, a deposition transcript — prepared by talented court reporters — can be used to impeach a witness. This is largely because, before a deposition begins, the witness must be sworn to tell the truth.

Get to know your witness's personality and presence

Second, an interview does not generally bring an attorney and a witness face-to-face. Typically, interviews are done over the phone. For trial purposes, it is essential to see the face and body language of a witness, which are classic indications of truthfulness and credibility. Further, some witnesses present as “likable” and “serious” or with other qualities that may be positive in front of a jury. Other witnesses will present in the opposite manner. These qualities are important for trial preparation and for how such a witness can be handled during a trial. A witness with a “disagreeable” personality might be given a quick direct examination to obtain their evidence and then sent as quickly as possible out of the courtroom. These qualities might be vaguely perceived during an interview, but can only be truly determined during the process of a deposition.

A Deposition is Practice for Testimony in Court

In a similar manner, a deposition can be seen as a “practice” — maybe a “dress rehearsal” — for the witness’s later testimony presented in front of the jury (or another fact-finder). The practice can help a witness be less nervous during the trial testimony. This is one reason to not be too concerned about presenting your own witnesses for a deposition. The practice can help the witness and show areas for improvement.

A Deposition is a Strategic Advantage

Fourth, because opposing sets of attorneys are present at a deposition (unlike an interview), a deposition allows litigators to test the strength of a witness’s testimony and to glean aspects of the other parties’ trial tactics and strategies. The opposing lawyers will have questions of their own, may focus on certain documents or certain parts of the testimony, or ignore aspects of the case. All of these can provide insights into the trial strategies of the other parties. In asking their questions, the opposing attorneys might demonstrate the strength or weakness of a witness’s testimony in a manner that is usually impossible during an interview.

Contact Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting Today

For more information, call the experienced court reporters at Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting. We follow the best practices in order to provide excellent litigation support to our customers. Contact us today to learn about our services and how we can help you.

Do I Need Court Reporting for a Georgia Arbitration?

Many lawyers find great value in having a court reporter transcribing arbitration proceedings.

Legal and business reasons for using a court reporter in an arbitration


The answer is a bit complicated. Many lawyers find great value in having a court reporter transcribing arbitration proceedings. This can be particularly valuable if the arbitration proceedings are spread out over non-consecutive days. During those intervals, the lawyers (and their clients) have time to review the transcripts of the previous hearing. This can help identify tactical course corrections that should be made, confusion that must be cleared up, matters that need additional follow-up, etc. An arbitration transcript is even valuable at the granular level if the transcript contains what you know to be an error. Maybe the court reporter misheard what was said. Maybe the Arbitrator or the Panel misheard it too! Something like that must be clarified on the next hearing day.

Arbitration transcripts can also be helpful in preparing witnesses that have not yet given testimony and can even be useful for experts to review. There may even be some possible impeachment value to having transcripts if a witness gives testimony on multiple days. Transcripts are also immensely helpful in preparing closing and summary statements at the end of testimony/evidence.

If the respective parties have been engaged in multiple cases (or expect to be), then arbitration transcripts will be useful in those other cases. Whether such transcripts are admissible in those other cases does not factor into their usefulness for preparing your case, knowing what to ask for in discovery, gleaning the opposing party’s litigation strategies, etc.

Finally, having arbitration transcripts is extremely useful if you plan any sort of appeal. Appeals from arbitration awards are rare and successful appeals are even rarer. But, having transcripts will certainly enhance any chance of winning an appeal.

Aside from these legal reasons to have arbitration transcripts, having transcripts may provide business and practical future value to the client. First, the parties may dispute what was decided at the arbitration. Transcripts will end that dispute. Second, parties can use the transcripts to show what was said about some issue of importance that is in dispute or under discussion.

Other considerations for using a court reporter in an arbitration


Having said all of the above, there are some other considerations. The first is whether you are allowed to have a court reporter at your arbitration. Some arbitration agreements have provisions banning court reporting as a method of maintaining confidentiality. This is also true for some arbitration services. Likewise, even if permitted, some individual arbitrators either bar court reporters entirely or express their displeasure that a party seeks to have the proceedings transcribed. Finally, court reporting is not without cost, and some clients want to keep costs down. As with many things, the question is: Do the costs outweigh the potential benefits? So, these are some of the other considerations that must be evaluated when deciding whether you need a court reporter at your next Georgia arbitration.

Contact Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting Today

For more information, call the experienced court reporters at Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting. We follow the best practices in order to provide excellent litigation support to our customers. Contact us today to learn about our services and how we can help you.

Old Law and New Tricks: Charitable Immunity and the Catholic Church

A plaintiff filed suit against the Catholic Church for the abuse he allegedly suffered from a bishop in the 1960s. The Catholic Church attempted to invoke a now-abolished law—charitable immunity—to claim its status as a non-profit prevented it from being sued. The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently ruled on the case, rejecting Holy See’s argument. Below is a brief explanation of the matter, according to GBH News.


The Case


As per its own court rules, the SJC issues opinions on cases within 130 days of oral arguments. In John Doe v. the Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield, an unnamed plaintiff filed a claim against the Catholic Church based on allegations that he was sexually abused by the bishop of Springfield at the time when he was an altar boy in the 1960s. The plaintiff sought damages for negligent hiring and supervision of the bishop as well as monetary compensation for the sexual abuse. The Catholic Church challenged the claims and sought to block the lawsuit from going to a trial by jury.


The Church’s basis for the challenge rests on two arguments. First, under church autonomy, the Church argued that trial judges in civil matters may not significantly interfere with the religious activities of faith-based entities because of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Second, the Church claims charitable immunity a doctrine that protected charities from certain lawsuits if the underlying action was related to the organization’s charitable mission. The rationale behind the doctrine—which was abolished by the legislature in 1971—was that permitting such legal claims could deplete the organizations’ funding and upend their charitable goals.


The SJC’s Decision


When charitable immunity was abolished, it was done so for incidents that occurred after 1971. In short, the abolishment did not occur retroactively. So, essentially, the Church’s legal argument on this basis is valid even after all these years and even though the doctrine no longer exists because of when the alleged sexual abuse occurred in this particular acase.


The SJC did not address the first issue of church autonomy, stating it was not ripe for review, but did address the second issue of charitable immunity. After reviewing the pre-1971 caselaw on charitable immunity, the SJC held that the bishop’s alleged activities did not correlate with the Catholic Church’s charitable mission but, rather, simply had to do with his own behavior. Accordingly, the Church was not immune to a civil lawsuit related to the bishop’s activities. The plaintiff’s claims regarding negligent hiring and supervision of the bishop, however, were covered under charitable immunity because hiring and supervising fell in line with the Church’s charitable mission of its personnel. Accordingly, the claim could not proceed.


To read more about the case, click here.


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