Montana State Supreme Court Implements Anti-Contracting Language and Gift-Giving Limitations
In a major victory for the impartiality of the record, the Montana State Supreme Court issued an order, which modified the state’s Rules of Civil Procedure to include anti-contracting language and gift-giving limitations. A successful advocacy campaign was waged by the Montana Court Reporters Association to inform the Supreme Court Justices of the ethical issues of cost-shifting, excessive gift-giving, and maintaining the impartiality of the record. On April 26, 2011, the State Supreme Court issued its changes to the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure.
Four significant restrictions were added to the Montana Rules of Civil Procedure. They read as follows:
The officer taking the deposition, or any other person with whom such officer has a principal and agency relationship, shall not enter into an agreement for reporting service which does any of the following:
- Requires the court reporter reporting the deposition to relinquish control of an original deposition transcript and copies of the transcript before it is certified and delivered to the custodial attorney.
- Requires the court reporter to provide special financial terms or other services that are not offered at the same time and on the same terms to all other parties in the litigation, or in any way offers any incentives or rewards to the attorneys, parties to the litigation, or to anyone else who has an interest in the litigation;
- Gives an exclusive monetary or other advantage to any party; or
- Compromises the impartiality of the court reporter, or that may result in the appearance that the impartiality of the court reporter has been compromised.
The Montana Court Reporters Association is to be applauded for pursuing these regulations that will maintain the integrity of the record and strengthen the state of the court reporting profession in their state. These changes will take effect on October 1, 2011 giving attorneys and parties time to adjust to the proposed changes. Additionally, you can read the memo on the changes issued by the Montana State Supreme Court here. For more information, please visit NCRA’s anti-contracting page, or contact Adam Finkel in NCRA’s Government Relations Department.