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Something disturbing occurred at the end of a recent multi-day arbitration I reported which I hope is not a trend. Our client ordered the hearing to be reported, with roughs e-mailed to her every night. Opposing counsel did not order anything. At the conclusion of the hearing, during the period when both sides were working on their posthearing briefs to send to the arbitrator, opposing counsel insisted that my agency post the transcripts on the JAMS website. It's not clear yet exactly what she said, but I looked up the JAMS rules and rule 22 says, in part: "(ii) If there is no agreement to share the cost of the stenographic record, it may not be provided to the Arbitrator and may not be used in the proceeding, unless the Party arranging for the stenographic record agrees to provide access to the stenographic record either at no charge or on terms that are acceptable to the Parties and the reporting service." I gather that our client took the first choice and simply provided it at no charge. And the other reporter and I who reported the hearing lost out on around a thousand dollars each that we would have made in copy charges for this multi-day hearing. I wonder if they could have just posted the excerpts that they quoted in their brief instead of the entire transcript. And I wish my agency had spoken up and at least attempted to negotiate a price. But this was an important client and I assume they didn't want to make any waves. They printed the transcript in condensed form, scanned it, and then posted that pdf, so at least it's not searchable and opposing counsel cannot use all the tools that they would have if they had paid for it. Next time I am offered an arbitration by another agency I will definitely bring this possibility up to them.
This is terrible. Figures; seems to be no end to the ways attorneys try to jilt us out of our hard-earned money. I don't take arbitrations because I don't like the stuffy atmosphere. I do know you make more money off of them, however. I sure hope if I did take an arbitration, my agency would not allow this nonsense to take place.
If your agency didn't want to make any waves, they're setting themselves up for this to be the norm and not a one-time situation. That's the problem.
Since JAMS isn't a public court, I wonder if Ca Gov Code section
doesn't apply (assuming you're in California)
California Government Code Section 69954 (d) states: "Any party or person who has purchased a transcript may, without paying a further fee to the reporter, reproduce a copy of portion thereof as an exhibit pursuant to court order or rule, or for internal use, *****but shall not otherwise provide or sell a copy or copies to any other party or person."*****
This doesn't exactly apply. It wasn't a "copy of a portion," but the entire 9 days, almost 2,000 pages of transcript.
And I am still upset about it!!!!
NO WAY!!! I handle a lot of these arbitrations and this issue has come up. I have always stood up for myself when I had to. My client usually understands the issue and intercedes now that I've educated them. All that's required is they offer a copy of the final transcript excerpt in context to all parties that they are quoting. I love when JAMS arbitrators tell me I'm not the final record, their notes are, and then ask me to send them a copy of a witness' testimony. Hockeypuck!!! The only thing I have conceded to is sending a final copy to the JAMS administrator for their records once the final award is rendered... and not sooner. My transcript is the "work product" of the attorney who paid for it. For extra security, I have had requested an expedite so they can quote a final transcript with a certificate attached. There's not much a retired court judge can argue with on that. Not that they won't try. Stand tough. My product, my control.
Well, I would have said all the above if our client had contacted me when opposing counsel first demanded the transcripts be posted on the JAMS website. But I am not the owner of the agency, and the other reporter and I only found out about this after the fact when she was contacted directly by opposing counsel wanting to know when the last 2 days were going to be posted, after the agency owner posted all the other days.
I agree with you in spirit, but I'm going to just take this as a lesson learned. This is a very small agency owned by a former reporter. The attorney is from a huge law firm - they used to have a lot more clients from this firm because they provide excellent, personal service, but a lot of them went over to one of the big national depo mills, so she's trying to hang onto this particular attorney. But now that I know about this rule and possible misinterpretations of it, I am going to educate any agency I report a JAMS arbitration for in the future. That's the reason I put out this email, so other reporters will be forewarned.