Litigation Restricted Disclosure

Its Impact on Your Transcript

Depositions can carry restricted disclosure designations, such as “Confidential” in lawsuits involving patents and trade secrets.  In complex litigation, attorneys use protective orders to keep sensitive information sheltered from the public and business competitors.  In today’s legal environment, a court reporter, videographer, and court reporting service may be asked to sign a binding non-disclosure document.  Some restricted disclosure designations impact a transcript’s final form more than others.

Confidential Transcripts

It is not uncommon for court reporters to be instructed by counsel at a deposition to mark the transcript as “Confidential.”  As the lowest designation of restricted disclosures, this is a relatively simple task.  The transcript, both in a digital format and hardcopy, are labeled.  Hardcopy transcripts are identified with CONFIDENTIAL.  Transcripts that are in a digital format have a filename that contains the word “Confidential,” and confidential is also prominently displayed on the transcript’s title page.  Digital transcript formats are password protected.

Court reporters usually rely upon counsel for explicit instructions on how to handle the confidential information within a transcript.  There are some recommendations court reporters consider best practices.  If only certain pages or Q-and-A pairs are identified as confidential, it’s best if the first line of a page contains text referencing confidential information.  This gives a warning related to its content.  When headers are used to convey the confidential labeling, the header may not always be visible or present as the file gets imported or exported into certain formats.

Video media files are labeled CONFIDENTIAL when delivered.

Restricted Disclosure:  Attorneys’ Eyes Only Transcripts

An instruction to produce a transcript for Attorneys’ Eyes Only is typically encountered when dealing with commercial litigation, particularly patents and trade secrets.  There’s almost always a protective order in place.

This type of restricted disclosure limits an attorney’s ability to share information with a client.  Exhibits and testimony are only available to counsel and legal staff.  In some instances, an expert witness may also have access to the restricted evidence.

If the whole transcript is designated Attorneys’ Eyes Only, the procedure for labeling is similar to the procedure for confidential transcripts.  The difference is that the word “Confidential” is replaced by the phrase, “Restricted Transcript – Attorneys’ Eyes Only.”

However, most of the time there is also testimony that is not subject to the most onerous restriction of Attorneys’ Eyes Only.  Testimony with less protection may be shared with parties and others involved in the litigation.  Circumstances like this require a transcript to be segregated into sections that are bound separately.  This will assist counsel and respective legal staff in complying with their obligations.

Segregated transcripts should be appropriately labeled and easily followed by the sequenced flow of paginated pages.  Both hardcopies and electronic files are divided.  Electronic files are also password protected.

Deposition testimony preserved on video is not divided up to reflect different restrictions but is labeled RESTRICTED when the media is delivered.

Confidential and Restricted Transcripts

CompuScripts’ experienced staff is proficient in producing transcripts that carry restricted disclosure designations.  We make the burden of restricting sensitive information easier for you and your staff.