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Unofficial Opinion 95-10

Unofficial Opinion 95-10

May 18, 1995
To: 

Representative
District 33

Re: 

A court reporter is required to make the disclosure of the complete arrangements for the reporting of a deposition required by O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28(d) at the beginning of the deposition. The requirement of disclosing the complete arrangements includes disclosing the costs to be charged to the person making the arrangements for the court reporter's services.

You have asked for an opinion regarding House Bill 1321 which was passed during the 1994 session of the General Assembly. In particular, you have asked whether the financial disclosure which a court reporter is required to make on the record in every deposition must be made at the beginning of the deposition. In addition, you have asked whether the requirement of disclosing the complete arrangement includes disclosing the costs to be charged.

As you know, House Bill 1321 amended O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28 by amending Subsection c and by adding a Subsection d. See 1994 Ga. Laws 1007. The new Subsection deals with disclosures by the court reporter before whom a deposition is taken. It provides as follows:

Each court reporter shall disclose on the record in every deposition taken the complete arrangement, financial or otherwise, made between the reporter or any person or entity making arrangements for the reporter's services and the attorney or other party making such arrangements with the reporter, person, or entity.

O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28(d) (emphasis added).

Further, a court reporter who is financially interested in an action is prohibited from reporting a deposition in that action and the parties have no authority to waive the disqualification. O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28(c) as amended. In addition to amending O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28, House Bill 1321 added a provision expressly prohibiting certain contracts for court reporting services. See O.C.G.A. § 15-14-37; compare 1993 Op. Att'y Gen. 93-18 (discusses contracting and charges for court reporting services under prior law). Based on these prohibitions, it appears that the disclosure of arrangements should be on the record at the beginning of the deposition. Otherwise, a deposition might be completed before it becomes apparent that the court reporter was disqualified.

In addition, you have asked whether the requirement of disclosing the complete arrangement includes disclosing the costs to be charged. As stated above, the court reporter must disclose "the complete arrangements, financial or otherwise." O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28(d). It appears clear that the price to be charged to the person making the arrangements for the court reporter's services is part of the financial arrangement.

Based on the above, it is my unofficial opinion that a court reporter is required to make the disclosure required by O.C.G.A. § 9-11-28(d) at the beginning of the deposition. In addition, it is my unofficial opinion that the requirement of disclosing the complete arrangement for the reporting of a deposition includes disclosing the costs to be charged to the person making the arrangements for the court reporter's services.

Prepared by:

THOMAS K. BOND
Assistant Attorney General