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Can I order just the sections I need from a deposition transcript if I can't afford to pay for the entire thing?

Redwood City, CA |

I'm in pro per & need access to, & copies of one or two small sections of 2 deposition transcripts to complete a motion for summary judgment, which I believe, will cause this case to be dismissed. The transcripts in their entirety are very lengthy and expensive--thousands of dollars, most of which frankly, are extraneous. I can't afford the cost of complete copies.

The court reporting co. makes its bread and butter on these things (I get that), & I don't wish to deny them $ for the services provided, but I don't believe that they can force us to purchase the "whole cow" when all we need is a "pound of ground beef." They won't allow us access to identify specific sections that we need, stating the only way that happens is if we buy the whole thing sight unseen. Can they do this legally?

If they can't do this legally, can you point me to the correct sections of the Code Civ. Proc. so that I can address this matter on the correct legal footing? If we can inspect the final version of the transcript, we can identify the specific pages needed and then pay for those sections.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

You seem to be aware that most court reporting services will not do this. Many attorneys will also object to the introductin of a partial transcript arguing the quoted matter is taken out of context or there is other information elsewhere which supports their clients. Finally I have never seen a judge accept a partial transcript.

I do understand the economics and costs of litigation and the frustrations.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

Asker

Posted

So, as a follow question, then I take it that its usual and customary or required that when referencing transcripts in a pleading, then you must include an entire and complete copy even if you only reference a single portion or section? I would think this would make the pleadings lean towards the cumbersome side in terms of size and weight.

Michael Charles Doland

Michael Charles Doland

Posted

You are correct. It gets even worse for multi- day, multi volument depositions.

Posted

You either purchase the entire transcript or not at all. Sorry. An exception might be if you can break the transcript down into volumes, sessions, or days. Still, you would have to purchase the entire transcript for that period. If you are on friendly terms with a party who has purchased a copy, perhaps that party would be willing to provide you copies of the pages you need. Good luck.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you.

Posted

no not in my experience.

Posted

I assume that you are Deft. Was the deponent the Plaintiff? The short way around this problem would be for you to craft some very specific special interrogatories that elicited the info that you are recalling. An interrog answer will serve you just as well as a segment of a depo transcript, and much cheaper. Possibly the same result is achievable with one or more narrowly tailored Req for admissions. The fact that the info was stated in a depo does not mean that is the only place or time that it can be compelled asa statement.

Regular askers on this site often tune out the constant admonitions to litigants that you need legal counsel. But, truth be told, if you were represented by counsel, this issue would not likely present itself. Attorneys tend to know multiple ways to skin the cat, and that often makes a difference in what kinds of obstacles are thrown up in the first instance.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

Asker

Posted

No, I am one of a number of defendants that appears to be a "shotgun" approach--i.e. name everyone for everything and sort it out later. The depositions were called by opp. counsel but where two of the other defendants were being deposed. I do appreciate the tip re: well crafted special interrogatories. Thank you.

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