The “SoCal Stip” Practice

SoCalStip

Dear Counsel:

We would like to share some information regarding the movement among the independent court reporters in Southern California to decline the SoCal Stip: The reporter’s transmission of an original deposition transcript to a non-noticing attorney for reading, correcting, and/or signing.

The “SoCal Stip” practice is contrary to CCP 2025.510 & 2025.520. In part, the Code states:

“The certified transcript of a deposition shall not be filed with the court. Instead, the deposition officer shall securely seal that transcript in an envelope or package endorsed with the title of the action and marked: ‘Deposition of (insert name of deponent),’ and shall promptly transmit it to the attorney for the party who noticed the deposition. This attorney shall store it under conditions that will protect it against loss, destruction, or tampering.”

Attorneys only in Southern California have commonly utilized and recited a stipulation at the end of deposition proceedings in non-Federal matters referred to as the ”SoCal Stip,” believing it would save their client from having to travel long distances to the court reporter’s office to review and sign the original transcript.

Travel is no longer an issue since witnesses may review the attorney’s copy of the transcript and send changes to the court reporter, or the witness can review, correct, and sign a secure electronic transcript.

As you may know, the court reporter is an independent, ministerial officer of the court, and not a party to the action, and cannot be bound by a proposed stipulation that an original deposition transcript be delivered to a non-noticing attorney.

Moving forward, it appears many, if not most, court reporters will follow the terms of the Code, which means the physical original transcript is retained by the reporter / court reporting agency through the entire production process, maintaining HIPAA compliance and safeguarding its integrity until the reading and signature period has elapsed (standard is 30 days). Then the transcript is sealed and sent to the noticing attorney.

At the conclusion of the proceedings, simply state, “Go by Code.” Please note, the Code allows you to shorten or extend the 30-day period for reviewing/signing. Rest assured, we will make arrangements to secure signature within the allotted time, seal the original transcript, and send it to noticing counsel for safekeeping.

To clarify any misconceptions:

  • The witness does not need to sign before a notary.
  • The witness does not have to travel to the court reporter’s office.
  • CCP 2025.520 does not require the witness to review the paper original; the witness can read and sign an electronic copy.
  • We hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions 800-282-3376.

    Sincerely,
    Jeri L. Kusar, CSR, RPR
    President/CEO