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SB-484 Deposition reporting services: unlawful business practices.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/07/2017 04:00 AM
SB484:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 06, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  March 23, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 484


Introduced by Senator Roth

February 16, 2017


An act to amend Section 8008 of the Business and Professions Code, and to add Section 2025.325 to the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to depositions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 484, as amended, Roth. Deposition reporting services: unlawful business practices.
Existing law provides for the certification and regulation of shorthand reporters by the Court Reporters Board of California and authorizes it to revoke or suspend a certificate for specified acts of misconduct. Existing law authorizes any party to obtain discovery in civil actions by taking the oral deposition of any person, including any party to the action. Existing law requires that a deposition be conducted under the supervision of an officer who is authorized to administer an oath and subjects the deposition officer or entity providing the services of the deposition officer to certain restrictions.
This bill would provide that it is unlawful for a person or entity that employs one or more who is employed by or who independently contracts with an entity that arranges for deposition officers for the purpose of transcribing to report or transcribe deposition testimony to give, pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, any referral fee, kickback, bribe, rebate, or thing of value to an attorney or law firm, or to an employee or independent contractor of an attorney or law firm, as compensation or inducement in connection with the services to be provided by the deposition officer, as specified. offer, pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, any gift, incentive, reward, or anything of value to any person or entity, as defined, associated with a proceeding being reported or transcribed. The bill would also provide that a violation of this provision is punishable by a civil fine not to exceed $20,000 $5,000 for each violation, and would authorize the Court Reporters Board of California, or the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney to bring a civil action for a violation of this provision.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.Section 8008 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:
8008.

The board has the following powers and duties:

(a)To adopt a seal.

(b)By affirmative vote of at least three members of the board, to suspend, revoke, or impose any other disciplinary action against a certificate for any cause specified in this chapter.

(c)To charge and collect all fees as provided for in this chapter.

(d)To require the renewal of all certificates.

(e)To issue subpoenas, to administer oaths, and to take testimony concerning any matter within the jurisdiction of the board.

(f)To investigate the actions of any licensee, upon receipt of a verified complaint in writing from any person, for alleged acts or omissions constituting grounds for disciplinary action under the chapter.

(g)To administer the Transcript Reimbursement Fund described in Section 8030.2.

(h)To bring a civil action for a violation of Section 2025.325 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

SEC. 2.SECTION 1.

 Section 2025.325 is added to the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:

2025.325.
 (a) It is unlawful for a person or who is employed by or who independently contracts with an entity that employs one or more arranges for deposition officers for the purpose of transcribing to report or transcribe deposition testimony pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2025.330 to give, pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, any referral fee, kickback, bribe, rebate, or thing of value to an attorney or law firm, or to an employee or independent contractor of an attorney or law firm, as compensation or inducement in connection with any services to be provided by the deposition officer. offer, pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, any gift, incentive, reward, or anything of value to any person or entity associated with a proceeding being reported or transcribed. For purposes of this section, the term “person or entity” includes an attorney or family members of an attorney; an employee of an attorney or family members of the employee; a law firm in its capacity as a business or corporate entity; and any clients, witnesses, insurers, underwriters, or any agents or representatives of the law firm.
(b) This section does not make unlawful any business practice related to the reporting and transcription of testimony pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 2025.330 that is otherwise in compliance with the law, including the provision of volume discounts, the provision of meals and refreshments at a proceeding being reported, or the provision of items that do not exceed one hundred dollars ($100) in the aggregate for any combination of items given per calendar year pursuant to Section 2475 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations.
(c) A person or entity that violates this section shall be liable for a civil fine not to exceed twenty five thousand dollars ($20,000) ($5,000) per violation.
(d) The Court Reporters Board of California, as described in subdivision (h) of Section 8008 of the Business and Professions Code, or the Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney may bring a civil action for a violation of this section, including an action for injunctive relief and any other appropriate relief, and shall be entitled as a prevailing party to recover reasonable attorney’s fees.