As a long time practicing real estate attorney in Los Angeles the recent cuts announced by the Los Angeles County Superior Court mark some of the biggest changes I have seen in a while. First, the Los Angeles County Superior Court announced closing 56 courtrooms. This is definitely going to slow down all litigation and will result in longer times to process a case through the system.
Second, and more interestingly, the Los Angeles County Superior Court announced that as of May 15, 2012 the Los Angeles County Superior Court will no longer provide court reporters for civil trials. That means, in order to have a record for appeal, litigants will have to bring their own court reporters to trial. These private court reporters will certainly be way more expensive than the court provided court reporters. In the end, the losing party will have to pay these court reporter fees as prevailing party costs, but the cost of going to trial will go up as of May 15, 2012. What is not clear is whether judges will be able to require the live feed that many judges use during trial. From experience, I have noticed that most judges rely on the live feed from the court reporter during trial to rule on objections, whether they will be able to require the live feed from the parties paying for their own court reporter (the live feed generally costs more money for the party) remains to be seen.
Finally, the Los Angeles County Superior Court also announced that as of June 18, 2012, court reporters will be available for civil law-and-motion matters on a limited basis. Again, that means there will be times when parties will have to bring their own court reporters for law and motion hearings. This has many effects. For example, if there are several law and motion matters on calendar in the same department and the same day it is conceivable that there will be significant calendar delays while different court reporters set up to transcribe the hearings. This could be problematic and further slow down an already clogged system.
I wonder whether the court will eventually shift to an audio recording of the proceedings or perhaps even a program that provides automated dictation – like the Dragon dictation app. The parties could then pay to have the audio recording professionally transcribed in the event that they actually need the transcript for appeal. This seems to be the best solution and is employed in other states. Only time will tell…
By Zachary D. Schorr, Schorr Law, A Professional Corporation, www.schorr-law.com, 310-954-1877, email@example.com.