Other NCRA Key Issues

Attorney responsibility for fees

The issue of who's responsible for the bill - the attorney or the attorney's client - has dogged the reporting profession for decades. Traditionally, courts have held that the attorney is an agent and thus is not personally liable for contracts made on behalf of a principal unless there is an express agreement to the contrary. However, in recent years, courts have been following a modified view of this maxim. If the attorney does not disclaim responsibility, he or she is viewed as the principal because the attorney controls the litigation. In addition to the primary argument of a modified agency theory, custom and usage have also been mentioned in various court rulings that favor reporters.

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Blue Ribbon Commission on voice technology

Demonstrations of CART and captioning using voice recognition technology and the knowledge that several stenographic CAT vendors have incorporated the technology into their CAT system software make it clear that things are developing quickly in the area of realtime voicewriting. The NCRA leadership strongly believes that it and the NCRA membership need a clear and solid understanding of the true state of the art in voice realtime.

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Employee/contractor status

Eighty-seven percent of the freelance reporters answering the question on NCRA's Sourcebook update form indicate they are independent contractors. A reporter's status as an employee or an independent contractor has important ramifications for the individual and for the agency(ies) for which he or she works, both at the practical level and the technical level with regard to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Read and sign requirements

Rule 30(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure concerns the reading and signing of a transcript by a witness in a federal case. Many states base their rules on the federal rules of civil procedure but add stipulations of their own.

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Repetitive stress injuries

Generally, RSIs affect individuals who perform repetitive tasks. RSIs may be caused by overexertion, incorrect posture, muscle fatigue, compression of nerves or tissue, too many uninterrupted repetitions of an activity or motion, or friction caused by an unnatural or awkward motion such as twisting the arm or wrist.

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Telephone depositions

Telephone depositions are a common occurrence for many court reporters. Some of the problems associated with telephone depositions - not being able to hear the witness, garbled speech, poor phone connections, and several participants who all sound alike and don't identify themselves - all make an already challenging assignment more difficult.

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Unauthorized copying of transcripts

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, specifically rule 30(f)(2), gives the court reporter in a federal case the right to charge a reasonable fee for a copy of the transcript. However, other sections of the FRCP assign custody of the transcript to the noticing attorney, thus undermining the notion of a property right on the part of the reporter in the transcript. Each state has its own rules of procedure, so reporters should thoroughly research what applies in their states.

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