What to do?  I did a 15-day arbitration for FINRA.  The claimant lost the case.  She's bitter and developed a website.  On this website are my unedited rough transcripts. There's a lot of excerpts, but some complete days of testimony.  She did pay for the rough only.  I don't know how long they've been up, but I just found out about it last week.  I contacted the CCRB and Connie basically said they don't have a position on this situation because they're roughs.  I'm not happy about this and so I send her a cease and desist letter with the Government Code Section.  Yesterday I see that she's now added a link to my cease and desist letter as well as my agency website.  I called her directly.  I calmly tried to explain my side of the situation to no avail.  As of today I have a call in to Connie Conkle again and I'll try Mona Sorvino of NCRA and next I'll contact DRA to see if they have a position.  I also think the DRA has an attorney retained, so I'd like to run this by him for specific code and law violations.

I'm pissed!!!  I consider myself a better-than-average court reporter and I don't want this out there as a represenation of my work.  If this has any affect on my reputation, I'll be livid.  I'm looking at having to file a lawsuit.  I think we all will say it's been a long time coming.  We have to set a precedent for this stuff.  Really it should be a class action against the attorneys who stipulate away our transcripts, but this one is personal.  I don't have the money for this.  I have two kids and an autoimmune disease.  Maybe I should test the waters for donations to our "cause."  I hate the thought of a lawsuit, but I get so worked up every time I think of those transcripts out there.  I really do feel violated in a weird way.  Anyway, my court reporting community, what do you think??

She said this Code didn't apply because we were in arbitration:

California Government Code Section 69954 states that “[a]ny court, party, or person who has purchased a transcript may, without paying a further fee to the reporter, reproduce a copy or 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.”

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How can she have paid for a rough only?  I thought policy was to only sell a rough if they were going to get a final draft.  If she paid you for it, I think it belongs to her.

I feel for you.  I wouldn't want roughs posted.  Is this an attorney doing this or the client?  It seems to me an attorney ought to know better.


I use the following blurb on every rough.  I'm just posting it here in case there's someone who needs a rough disclaimer.


By receiving this unofficial draft transcript, you are agreeing to purchase the certified transcript of this matter when it is prepared by the court reporter.  This unofficial draft transcript is provided to you solely as a litigation support tool for use inhouse by you, other members of your staff, associate counsel, paralegals, or expert consultants.  We agree to provide this service to you with the explicit understanding that you will in no way make it available, in whole or in part, in any form, to anyone else.  This transcription has been neither checked nor proofread.  It is a rough draft, not a certified transcript.  The unofficial draft transcript may contain computer-generated mistranslations of stenotype code resulting in nonsensical word combinations or untranslated symbols which cannot be deciphered by non-stenotypists.  Corrections will be made in the preparation of the certified transcript resulting in differences in page and line numbers, punctuation, and formatting.

Thank you for posting that, Janet. I'm going to include that "explicit understanding that you will in no way make it available" part in my own disclaimer. Nice.

Also, in case it helps, I have a running "noncertified - nonproofread" header and a "draft" designation on each page.

Sorry you're having to deal with this, Leesa. BTW, I don't at all see the logic in her defense to the 69954 code you posted.

Just what is her purpose for posting your unedited realtime transcript?  First, CALM DOWN!!!!  You will get due course to the b---.  I just googled your name - and saw nothing but good things!!!!! 

Write a letter to all the attorneys and parties involved, short and sweet.  Three or four paragraphs, one page.  Explain you are an uninterested party and provide a service to make a record of the proceedings, and your realtime unedited transcript is daily copy, provided at a premium cost. 

Then explain she has posted your unedited transcripts on the Internet, ALONG your your cease and decist letter.  Tell them you consider it harassment and damaging to your career.  Tell them if they do not take care of the problem, you will consult with an attorney regarding your legal rights against her and the attorneys, and their law firms, as they are responsible for her actions since you are an uninterested party and only providing a service at their direction and they are responsible for her actions.

I was a legal assistant for twenty years and have a paralegal degree, and did a hellofalot of drafting of legal documents.  If you want me to draft you a letter, email me.

I know you're very upset about this!  However, I came away with the same thing as Janiece.  In my world, there is no "pay for the rough only."  There is no "rough only."  Or, put another way, the "rough only" fee equals a copy sale + rough draft fee.  As far as your upsetment over the incident, I offer solidarity, and sympathy.  Did you ask Connie what she would do if it was the final out there?  Just be interested in that answer.


Couple more facts. My client wanted to sue her yesterday. He didn't realize I didn't know. She's suing her attorneys for losing the case. The website is to collect other claimants against the people she perceives wronged her. The official record for FINRA is the audio recording. My transcripts are work product because the proceedings can be protracted and the awards are not appeal able. The top of the page says "unedited rough transcripts." She has a note that if anyone wants a copy to contact her. I used an alias and tried to retrieve but she didn't send so that's good. I collect a per idem and the parties split it

You know, I would not waste two seconds worrying about this.  Who is going to spend time reading that?  It's not going to reflect badly on you as a court reporter.  I'd just move on.  Rough drafts are just that, rough.  They are not perfect.  

In the future I would not agree to sell something to someone unless they are paying for the final too.  I think that's the industry standard.

Those FINRA hearings are a pain to write b/c of the way they do them.  They are not simple Q&A.  

You're right, Janiece.  FINRA sucks for many reasons, not to mention that every single one I've done, it's been a bear to try to hear everyone.  And the "official record" is that rinky-dink tape recorder they plop on the table and forget to turn on half the time?  Uh, yeah, right.  


Think of it this way - just like when the cloned goat was named Dolly - you got free advertising.  It could work to your advantage.

One other thing while I'm thinking about it I thought those FINRA hearings were top secret.  I can't believe she is posting this on the internet.  Strange..............

I had an attorney contact me a few years back asking me if I would supply him with a certificate to go with the transcript he had.  He had bought it off one of those sites where attorneys upload and share our transcripts, which gives THEM credits to get other transcripts for free.  He sent me the ASCII of it, and it had no title, no cert, etc., and started on page 1.  I quickly figured out it was a ROUGH.  It was way past the time for me to have thrown away the stuff from that job, but I just happened to find the videographer's cassette tapes.  I told him the only way I would certify it for him is if I edited it against the audio tape and charged him full price for the transcript.  He didn't flinch.  Made myself an easy thousand bucks, I believe it was.  He wrote me later and told me because of that transcript, he was able to get opposing counsel to settle his case, so whatever he had had to pay me was worth it.

It really pisses me off to know that people are posting our transcripts on the record, especially roughs.


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