In response to a question from the Court Reporters Certification Board (CRCB), the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has decided that a litigant or his lawyer, or an employee of either one, may record a deposition solely by nonstenographic means like video or audio.
In a May 14 opinion, AG Greg Abbott decided there is no conflict between Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 199.1, which says parties may record depositions nonstenographically, and Texas Government Code § 52.021(f), which says, “all depositions . . . must be recorded by a certified shorthand reporter.”
In an Aug. 31 letter, 119th District Judge Bob Woodward, also the chairman of the CRCB, asked the OAG if there was a conflict between the rules of procedure and the statute. He wrote that the CRCB’s “inclination” was for the OAG to enforce the statute, requiring court reporters to record depositions stenographically. Woodward didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
But the OAG’s opinion noted that Government Code §52.033 includes an exception allowing litigants, their lawyers, or an employee of either to record depositions by audio or video.
“These individuals may record a deposition solely by non-stenographic means without violating Government Code section 52.021(f),” says the opinion. It notes because the OAG found no conflict, it didn’t address other “concerns” Woodward raised in his request for an opinion.
OAG Spokesman Tom Kelley didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
-- Angela Morris