For Immediate Release
Governor Bredesen Signs Law Governing Court Reporter Conduct in Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee, June 10, 2010 – With the signature of Governor Bredesen yesterday, Tennessee rejoins 28 other states in the U.S. in prohibiting court reporters from having ongoing financial relationships with the parties to the cases they report. Back in 2000, Tennessee law first limited such activities by court reporters. An amendment to the law last year inadvertently removed the restriction to financial contracts by a court reporter or reporting firm directly with a party in the lawsuit.
The Tennessee Court Reporters Association (TCRA) introduced House Bill 3380 (SB 3059) this past session to restore the language. With the help of Bill Cosponsors Woodson, Beavers, Marrero and Berke in the Senate and Sontany, Sargent and Matheny in the House of Representatives, a successful bipartisan effort placed newer, more complete and succinct language back into the law, TCA 24-9-136.
“Court reporters must be impartial officers of the court,” said TCRA President Lisa Blake. “Having a financial arrangement with a party to cover all their litigation needs creates in fact or appearance a bias on the part of the reporter. The restored language to TCA 24-9-136 assures all parties to litigation in Tennessee an even playing field and an unbiased, neutral court reporter with no financial or personal conflicts of interest. No one would want the judge in a case to be on the payroll of one party in a lawsuit. Court reporters are also duty-bound to stay impartial, just like the judges or mediators in legal matters. It’s really just common sense, and many people never realized these practices were taking place in Tennessee.”
Depositions or other proceedings taken by a court reporter found to be prohibited under the new law could result in the transcript being rendered void. Additionally, court reporters violating this section of the code would come under the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Board of Court Reporting and their Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct. The TBCR was created under legislation last year and the license requirements for reporters begin July 1, 2010.