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NCRA Files Brief in Ohio Payment Case

NCRA and the Ohio Court Reporters Association partnered on an amici curiae brief in a state court case wherein an attorney has refused to pay a reporting firm's invoice on the grounds that the attorney's client is the responsible party. The brief indicates that Ohio courts have generally held that "in the absence of express notice to the contrary, court officials and persons connected with the progress of the litigation may safely regard themselves as dealing with the attorney."

The question of who is responsible for court reporters' fees is a matter of state law, and the answer varies from state to state.

The brief notes that:

"...(C)ourts historically applied principles of strict agency to the question of liability for court reporting fees. The attorney requesting services from a court reporter was regarded merely as the client's agent in the transaction, and the client, as principal, was liable for payment. Thus developed the historical rule that an attorney is not liable for the court reporter's fees unless the attorney expressly assumed liability. As litigation has evolved, however, the roles of attorneys and court reporters have expanded and changed. Although the historical rule may have been suitable in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it is unable to accommodate the realities of modern litigation.

"The modern attorney is no longer a mere agent of the client..."

The brief cites 20 cases and seven state statutes relating to the issue.

More information about ">attorney responsibility for reporter fees is available in the Key Issues area under News & Information on the NCRA Web site .