Videotaped depos and listening/adding every false start/stutter

Okay.   This has been a question I've wanted to ask for a long time:  Do you listen to every word of the audio and put in all the stutters and false starts in a videotaped depo, or have your scopist do it?  I'm not talking words you missed; I'm talking the stutters and actual false starts.

 

I tell you, I cringe when my scopist puts in all the false starts and stutters.  I know they're supposed to be in there when it's a videotaped depo, I guess, but I just think it looks so bad. 


She'll put in "the -- the -- the --" and I know maybe that's how it's supposed to be done - I'm not faulting her - but I take that stuff out.  No attorney that hires a court reporting agency wants to see that in their transcript as to what they said; just looks terrible. 

I do put in the false starts if the job is videotaped but not if it's not videotaped.  Example:

 

Q     When did  -- who brought this issue to your attention?

 

What do you do?  What's your practice?  I know the answers are going to be all across the board on this one I bet.

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Kelli, I am completely astonished, as the site owner, that you would not only suggest that one of your members is lazy but also takes no pride in her work.  The language you used is not only insensitive but inflammatory and Martha in no way deserved what looks like a personal "attack" from you.  The issue is not being lazy or not taking pride in her work; the issue is that just as many attorneys consider the insertion of readbacks as transcript padding.  Maybe you should choose your words more carefully next time so as not to hurt someone's feelings (unless, of course, that was your intention).  Why so mean, Kelli?

well, Kelli, I was talking about the LAST question posed, not something back two pages.  That is a different case.  I was told to do it for the last question posed just because it was videotaped and for no other reason, because the transcript was synched to video and it would throw the transcript off the synch if I didn't state out the whole question. 

I indent it all too.  You get lots more pages when you add all the readbacks.  We all know we hate to read back, but you might as well get the extra pages for it.  That's the only perk.

Marge throws in exactly what was read back.  And I indent it all!  Not doing so is squandering lines, which of course can equal pages, but I wouldn't call that being lazy or not having pride in one's work.  I view it as a misguided pride in not padding.  Leaving blank lines is padding.  Quoting read-back material is not padding.  

What I do on read back when asked to read back last question, (Lines 15 through 22 read back by Reporter.), or if it was a question three pages back or the previous page even, (Page 22, Lines 5 through 20 read back by Reporter.), that way everyone knows what was read back.  I don't think I have ever been requested to put the actual read back in quotes.

Attorneys don't specifically request to "quote" the read-back; that's more reporter terminology, I think. They ask to have the question/answer "restated" in the transcript. I used to just do (Record read.) and have come to realize, through the years and experience, that that is not very helpful and could even cause/contribute to confusion on the part of the reader of the transcript after the fact.

I've never personally had an attorney complain to me about read-back being quoted. I have had, however, attorneys complain to me that read-back was NOT quoted in others' transcripts, and they didn't know what was read back and what the witness was answering.  It's also not uncommon for attorneys to ask me: "Oh, could you read back the question/answer where I/he/she said, blah, blah, blah," or they will want to search for a particular word that was said and have that section read back. There is no denying that it adds absolute clarity to the record, and I'm sure, in most cases/more often than not, it proves to be helpful/useful to the attorneys and further adds the convenience of not having to flip back pages to find the question/answer.  If the witness answers right after, often there is no way to determine what was read back and what question the witness is answering. For example:
(Record read.)
THE WITNESS:  Oh, I'm sorry.  Yes.
"Yes" what? What if there were a series of yes/no questions? There's no way to tell what that is answering.
I've had many attorneys request that read-back be "restated," as they say, in the transcript. I tell them that's my standard practice. I've NEVER had an attorney say, "I don't want to pay for extra lines/pages, so don't quote the read-backs." I also quote the very last question asked for consistency.
Ditto Marge:  "Quoting read-back material is not padding."

From now on I will start asking the attorneys if they want me to quote the read back or just put the lines numbers on what I read back. 

Another thing I've been hearing a lot of complaints about recently is not quoting the stip from another depo when they say "same stip" and everybody agrees.  Seems that's the complaint de jour lately.  And since I've been including it for the past few years, I know they're not complaining about my transcripts. 

I quote readbacks and stips too. And in stips I put in brackets the current witness pronoun and name.

To say that I despise the SoCal stip is a gross understatement, so I don't see why I/we should have to put that in the transcript, whether it was previously stated in another transcript or not. They're the ones who made up that ridiculous stip (many of them don't even know why they do it); they should know what it is. In fact, I think the stip should be illegal. What, if a bunch of lawyers got together in one room and decided they don't like a particular law, they could just stip their way out of it, and then it just wouldn't apply to them because that's what they've all agreed to???  The fact that I don't put it in is no accident. They don't like that?  Pfffft. I don't like that stip, either.

Oh, and I do try to be good to my videographers to give them what they need, just as I try to be good to others in general. I see us as a team/colleagues, and there's no need to make their job any harder. If they need all the words to be there to sync, no problem. If I need the volume higher/lower or for them to read their read-ons more clearly/slowly, they're happy to oblige. Depending upon my mood, sometimes I want one audio file for the whole day, sometime two, sometimes with each disk change, so I do ask the videographer(s) to adjust how they would normally do their job to fit my needs. I've never had a videographer try to tell me how to do my job, so I don't need to prove "I'm the boss of me," and I don't need to be the queen bee.

Yes, I put it all in for every depo, video or not.  My goal is to create as verbatim a transcript as possible.  I think it's a slippery slope when you start editing somebody to make them look better.  In a way, my job is much easier if I just accept the verbatim challenge.  My job is not to edit what they said, just to write down what they said.  It's pretty straightforward :-)

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