Private court reporters

Establishes standards of practice and prohibited practices for
private court reporters.

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           611
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Chapter 606, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 2 by adding three new sections to be appropriately designated and
 3 to read as follows:
 4      "606-  Private court reporters; certification; prohibited
 5 practices.  (a) Individuals and entities authorized to render
 6 court reporting services under rules adopted by the supreme court
 7 shall:
 8      (1)  Comply with all federal, state, and local laws and
 9           court rules;
10      (2)  Possess valid certification as shorthand reporters and
11           comply with professional standards that govern the
12           practice and conduct of certified shorthand reporters;
13           and
14      (3)  Offer comparable services to all parties to a
15           proceeding and upon the same terms.
16      (b)   Such individuals and entities, and any other person
17 with whom a private court reporter has a principal and agency
18 relationship, shall not enter into any agreement, either oral or
19 written, or engage in any deliberate conduct that:

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                                     S.B. NO.           611

 1      (1)  Undermines the actual or perceived impartiality of the
 2           court reporter;
 3      (2)  Precludes attorneys from selecting a court reporter or
 4           court reporting firm on a case-by-case basis;
 5      (3)  Precludes attorneys from negotiating reasonable fees
 6           for court reporter services on a case-by-case basis or
 7           limits an attorney's ability to select a different
 8           court reporter or court reporting company on a case by
 9           case basis;
10      (4)  Gives any party, third party, attorney, or the agent of
11           any of them, exclusive terms for court reporter
12           services, including terms for transcript format,
13           transcript delivery, distribution of certified copies,
14           or service rates;
15      (5)  Requires the court reporter or court reporting firm to
16           relinquish custody of the original deposition
17           transcript before certifying it and delivering it to an
18           attorney, or to relinquish responsibility for its
19           safekeeping before it is filed with the court;
20      (6)  Requires the court reporter or court reporting firm to
21           be aligned with one party or another in litigation, to
22           sign a confidentiality agreement, or, in act or

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                                     S.B. NO.           611

 1           appearance, to participate as part of an advocacy
 2           support team for any party; or  
 3      (7)  Establish a contracting network that, if conducting
 4           business in Hawaii, that would be in violation of this
 5           statute.
 6      (c)  Government employment shall not be prohibited by
 7 subsection (b), and this section shall not apply to contracts for
 8 court reporter services entered into by courts, agencies, or
 9 instrumentalities of the United States or of the State of Hawaii.
10      606-    Private court reporters; rates; incentives.  (a)
11 Rates for certified copies to non-noticing parties shall not
12 exceed seventy percent of the cost of the original plus one to
13 the noticing party. All incentive programs offered by any
14 reporter or reporting agency that are not equally available to
15 all customers, or that are not equally available to all parties
16 in a given matter in which the reporter or agency is providing
17 services, are expressly forbidden in the State of Hawaii.
18      606-    Private court reporters; disclosure; impartiality;
19 penalties.  (a) Any individual or entity certified under section
20 606-   shall comply with the rules of disclosure as adopted by
21 professional standards that govern the practice and conduct of
22 certified shorthand reporters.

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                                     S.B. NO.           611

 1      (b) Parties to a judicial action have a right to an
 2 impartial and independent court reporter who has no bias,
 3 financial or otherwise, related to the action or proceeding.
 4      (c) Violation of this section shall be grounds for
 5 discipline, censure, or suspension or revocation of
 6 certification."
 7      SECTION 2.  Section 606-13.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 8 repealed.
 9      ["[606-13.6]  Private court reporters; contracts.(a)  Any
10 contract for private court reporting services, not related to a
11 particular case or reporting incident, shall be prohibited
12 between a private court reporter or any other person with whom a
13 private court reporter has a principal and agency relationship,
14 and any attorney, party to an action, party having a financial
15 interest in an action, or any entity providing the services of a
16 certified shorthand reporter.  Negotiating or bidding reasonable
17 fees, equal to all parties, on a case-by-case basis may not be
18 prohibited.
19      (b)  Violation of this section shall be grounds for
20 discipline, censure, or suspension or revocation of licensure."]

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                                     S.B. NO.           611

 1      SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 2 New statutory material is underscored.
 3      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 5                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________