Virginia's New Legislation

Code of Virginia
Title 17.1. Courts of Record
Chapter 10. Court Reporters
§ 17.1-1000. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Court reporter" a person who records legal proceedings by stenotype machine or other means allowed under the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia and provides prompt preparation of an accurate, verbatim written transcript.

"Court reporting services" services provided by a court reporter and associated videography services.

"Court reporting services provider" a business, entity, or firm that provides or arranges for court reporting services.

"Legal proceeding" includes a court proceeding, a deposition, an administrative hearing, an arbitration hearing, an examination under oath, and a sworn statement.

2018, c. 783.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

§ 17.1-1001. Applicability; waiver.
A. This chapter applies to court reporting services performed in the Commonwealth, whether a party appears in person or by remote access, provided by:

1. A court reporter or court reporting services provider, whether or not based in the Commonwealth, in connection with a legal proceeding that is commenced or maintained in the Commonwealth; or

2. A court reporter or court reporting services provider based in the Commonwealth in connection with a legal proceeding that is commenced or maintained in a foreign jurisdiction.

B. The provisions of this chapter shall not be waived or otherwise modified. Any waiver or modification is contrary to public policy and is void and unenforceable.

2018, c. 783.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

§ 17.1-1002. Prohibited actions; exception.
A. A court reporter or court reporting services provider shall not:

1. Enter into an oral or written contractual agreement for more than one case, action, or legal proceeding with a party, insurance company, or any other person or entity that has a financial interest in the case, action, or legal proceeding. This prohibition does not apply to a contract for the provision of court reporting services between a court reporter or court reporting services provider and an attorney or law firm that is counsel of record in one or more cases, actions, or legal proceedings;

2. Give an economic or other advantage to a party or a party's attorney, representative, agent, insurer, or employee without offering the advantage to all parties or fail to offer comparable services, prices, or financial terms to all parties, except that different credit terms may be offered based on payment experience and creditworthiness;

3. Offer or provide court reporting services if payment for those services is made contingent on the outcome of the legal proceeding, base the compensation for the court reporting services on the outcome of the legal proceeding, or otherwise give the court reporter or court reporting services provider a financial interest in the action;

4. Enter into an agreement for court reporting services that restricts an attorney from using the court reporter or court reporting services provider of the attorney's choosing;

5. Enter into an oral or written contractual agreement with a party, insurance company, or any other person or entity that has a financial interest in the case, action, or legal proceeding to include a court reporter or court reporting services provider on a list of preferred providers of court reporting services that is maintained by a person, business, entity, or firm that has entered into an oral or written contractual agreement for more than one case, action, or legal proceeding with an attorney, party, insurance company, third-party administrator, or any other person or entity that has a financial interest in the case, action, or legal proceeding. This prohibition does not apply to a contract between a court reporter or court reporting services provider and an attorney or law firm to include such court reporter or court reporting services provider on a list of preferred providers maintained by such attorney or law firm;

6. Allow the format, content, or body of a certified transcript as submitted by the court reporter to be manipulated in a manner that increases the cost of the transcript; or

7. Provide additional advocacy or litigation support services, including trial preparation assistance, deposition summaries, and nonpublished transcript databases.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, if authorized or required by law, ordinance, or rule, a governmental entity may obtain court reporting services on a long-term basis through competitive bidding.

2018, c. 783.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

§ 17.1-1003. Comparable treatment of parties.
A. At any time during or following a legal proceeding, an attorney or a party is entitled to an itemized statement of the rates and charges for all services that have been or will be provided by a court reporter or court reporting services provider that is providing court reporting services to any party to the legal proceeding.

B. Upon request, a court reporter or court reporting services provider shall provide to the parties,
if known, information on prices, terms, and conditions of court reporting services in sufficient time prior to the commencement of the legal proceeding to allow the parties the opportunity to effectively negotiate for any changes necessary to ensure that comparable terms and conditions are made available to all parties.

C. Upon request, a court reporter or court reporting services provider shall provide an itemized invoice of all rates and charges for court reporting services provided in the administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal in which the action upon which the legal proceeding is based is pending or scheduled to be heard.

2018, c. 783.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

§ 17.1-1004. Pro bono services.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the ability of a court reporter or court reporting services provider to provide pro bono services to persons or parties with limited means.

2018, c. 783.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

§ 17.1-1005. Penalties.
A. A person harmed by a violation of this chapter may file a motion alleging the violation with the administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal in which the action upon which the legal proceeding is based is pending or is scheduled to be heard. A person need not commence a separate action to allege a violation of this chapter.

B. A complaint alleging a violation of this chapter may be filed by any person with knowledge of the offense or by the administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal on its own initiative. The court reporter or court reporting services provider alleged to have violated this chapter shall be given notice and a right to be heard on any such complaint, with the right of appeal or review as in other cases.

C. A complaint and request for civil penalties and sanctions may be brought:

1. By motion in the administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal in which the case is pending or scheduled to be heard; or

2. In the general district court for the county or city in which the court reporting services were or are scheduled to be provided.

D. A court reporter or court reporting services provider that willfully violates this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty of $500 for the first offense, $750 for the second offense, and $1,000 for the third and any subsequent offense. Such penalty shall be collected by the clerk of the administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal in which such penalty was assessed. The amounts so collected shall be paid by the clerk to the state treasury and credited to the Legal Aid Services Fund within the Virginia State Bar fund. Such amounts credited to the Legal Aid Services Fund shall be disbursed by the Virginia State Bar by check from the State Treasurer upon a warrant of the comptroller to nonprofit legal aid programs organized under the auspices of the
Virginia State Bar through the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia.

In addition to any civil penalty assessed, the administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal that received the complaint pursuant to this section and determined that a person or entity violated this chapter may bar such person or entity from providing services in matters before such body, court, or tribunal.

E. An administrative body, court, or administrative tribunal that finds a violation as a result of a complaint pursuant to this section shall submit a record of the nature and disposition of each complaint to the Virginia State Bar, which shall make such information publicly available on its website.

2018, c. 783.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

 
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