A Court Reporter’s Tasks When the Deponent is Absent

What Do I Do Next?

Imagine this scenario: You’re an experienced, dedicated deposition court reporter.  You packed your bag the night before and scouted parking at the deposition suite.  You arrived early to set up your court-reporting equipment and to check in to your assignment.  By the deposition’s scheduled start time, everyone is present… except the deponent.  In CompuScripts’ 25-year history, our court reporters have encountered this situation numerous times.  These are a court reporter’s tasks when the deponent is absent from the deposition. 

Sit Tight

Even if the deponent fails to appear, you will not be leaving right away.  First, you will update the court reporting company on the status of your deposition.  Next, the defending attorney will attempt to confirm that the deponent is or isn’t attending.  Last, if the defending attorney is also absent, the attorney of notice will reach out to the defending attorney by phone, text, or email to confirm that the deponent will not be appearing.   From here, you will await instruction from the noticing attorney.

Possibility 1: Create a CNA

You may be asked to do one of two things  when the deponent fails to appear.  The first possibility is that the noticing attorney may ask for a court reporter’s certificate of non-appearance, or CNA.  The CNA states that the deponent failed to appear at the deposition site at the scheduled date and time.  Additionally, the noticing attorney may instruct the court reporter to attach the subpoena or notice of deposition to the CNA.

Setting Up a CNA

Before you begin, here is an example of how your CNA should be set up.  To start, list the venue and case caption, including the case number, just like any other title page caption you would produce.  However, here’s where a CNA is different from a traditional title page.  You will center the words “Certificate of Non-Appearance,” and below that, the verbiage should read something like this:

I, Jane Doe, a Court Reporter with CompuScripts, Inc., do hereby certify that the  deponent, John Q. Public, failed to appear on February 30, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. at the law offices of Doe & Doe Law Firm, 123 Main Street, Any City, South Carolina.

Possibility 2: Record a Statement

Alternatively, the noticing attorney may instruct you to record a statement.  To set up your title page for a statement on record, start with the customary format:  venue, caption, and case number.  Next, change your title page to read ATTEMPTED DEPOSITION rather than DEPOSITION.  The rest of your verbiage on the title page will remain the same as usual.  You will also include an appearance page naming the attorneys present, as well as any ALSO PRESENT attendees.  Attendees might include a legal videographer, a company representative for a party, or a representative for an insurance company.

Finishing the Statement

The statement of counsel will be page 3 of your attempted deposition statement on record.  Be sure to set up the statement of counsel as colloquy.  Then, mark any attachments as exhibits, if instructed to do so by the noticing attorney.  Next, on your certificate page, delete any reference to having sworn the deponent.  Be sure to edit or delete any verbiage that is not relevant to the transcript record at hand.  Finally, don’t forget to change the word “deposition” to read “attempted deposition”.  In this situation, no index page is necessary.  Include the exhibit(s), if any, within your sealed original transcript, and distribute as instructed.

CompuScripts knows what to expect in a deposition because we are owned by a deposition court reporter.  If you are a court reporter looking to work with a knowledgeable, experienced court reporting firm, contact us for more information.