All posts by Mark Miller

cybersecurity tips remote depositions

Cybersecurity Tips for Remote Depositions

As more and more depositions and other legal proceedings have been carried out virtually over the last couple years, law firms and attorneys are spending more time thinking about an important theme: Cybersecurity. This is vital for proceedings where sensitive legal information may be shared or disclosed, and ensuring you’re following proper guidelines here will help protect both you and your firm.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer the very best video deposition services and many other forms of court reporting or transcription for numerous clients. All our remote services are offered alongside quality security programs that ensure you’re never at-risk. What are some themes we recommend to attorneys and law firms when it comes to maintaining cybersecurity for any remote deposition or related hearing? Here are a few.

Assess Your Risks

First and foremost, it’s important to assess the cybersecurity risks that may be inherent in any given deposition. You’ll want to consider both the type of case and the type of information being shared during the proceeding. Information that may be sensitive or classified, for example, will require a higher level of security than other matters.

Other considerations might include whether any trade secrets will be discussed, if there are any children involved in the case, or if any other information might be used to exploit vulnerabilities. By identifying these risks in advance, you can take steps to mitigate them before they become a problem.

Consider Your Protection

Once you’ve identified the risks present in your case, you’ll need to consider what type of protection you’ll need to put in place. This might include using a virtual private network (VPN) or other encryption methods to secure data transmissions, ensuring that all devices used during the deposition are properly secured, and establishing strict rules for who can access the deposition transcript or video.

Education of Team Members

For any remote deposition that will involve other members of your team, it’s vital that everyone understands the importance of cybersecurity and knows what steps need to be taken to ensure a secure proceeding. This might include training on how to use the VPN or other security measures, establishing clear rules regarding device security and data sharing, and setting expectations for what will happen if there is a breach.

Many of the errors that lead to cybersecurity breaches are human in nature, so it’s important that everyone involved in the deposition understands the risks and knows how to avoid them.

Review Your Processes

After a remote deposition has been completed, it’s also important to review the process and procedures that were used to ensure that they were effective. This might include debriefing with all team members, reviewing the video or transcript for any security issues, and conducting a post-mortem to identify any areas where the process could be improved.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your next remote deposition is as secure as possible. For more on this, or to learn about our Phoenix court reporters and both the in-person and remote services we offer, speak to our staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

bad faith insurance documentation

Phoenix Bad Faith Insurance Cases and Documentation

There are a few elements that will play an important role in determining the outcome of any bad faith insurance claim made against an insurer, and documentation is absolutely one of them. Proving bad faith from an insurer typically requires the ability to produce documented evidence of improper behavior, and there are several related areas where this theme comes into play as well. 

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re happy to provide a huge range of such services, including comprehensive court reporting and legal transcription services for clients throughout Phoenix and nearby areas. What are some important elements of bad faith insurance cases where documentation plays a role, and how do professionals like ours serve important positions here as well? Let’s go over everything you should know.

Common Law Bad Faith

There are two general formats that these cases may proceed under, and the first of these is known as common law. Common law elements of bad faith insurance will vary from state to state, but there are a few which are fairly common.

Specifically, proving a common law claim of bad faith will generally require these two elements be proven:

  • Benefits due under the policy were specifically withheld: The plaintiff must establish that they had a valid claim under the terms of the policy, but that the insurer refused to pay out on it. In some states, the filer must make a final demand from the insurer before filing a claim.
  • The reason for refusing benefits was unreasonable: Next, it must be proven that the company was acting unreasonably in refusing to pay benefits. This will require a thorough evaluation of the circumstances and evidence by an experienced attorney, in order to determine if the company had any reasonable justification for denying the claim.

If both of these elements can be proven, then bad faith may be established – though again, this will vary from state to state.

Statutory Bad Faith

Statutory bad faith claims, on the other hand, are based on laws made by state legislatures. Many states have such laws, which are in place to protect individuals from deceptive practices from insurance companies.

Again, specifics here will vary between states. There are some common elements, such as allegations that the company failed to provide a reasonable explanation for denial of a claim, or that the company did not attempt to make a prompt, fair and equitable settlement of a claim when liability is clear. There may also be several others.

Role of Court Reporters and Transcribers

As you may have guessed from reading the above, bad faith insurance cases require a great deal of documentation in order to be successful. This is where professionals like our court reporters and transcribers come in – they play a vital role in helping to collect, organize, and present all the evidence that will be needed.

In many cases, attorneys will work with our team to help collect relevant documents and testimony from witnesses. We can also help convert all of that material into a format that can be easily understood and used in court.

If you’re involved in a bad faith insurance case, make sure to get in touch with us – we’ll be happy to work with you and help make sure your case has the best chance of success. For more on this or any of the services provided by our Phoenix court reporters, speak to the team at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

court reporter discrimination wrongful termination

Role of Court Reporter in Discrimination-Based Wrongful Termination

There are a few reasons why previous employees of a given organization may file suit against that employer for wrongful termination, and one of the most common is due to issues of discrimination. It is expressly illegal for any employer in the US to fire someone based on discrimination or related concerns, and employers who have been found to do so can be punished in several ways, including making restitution to the employee in question.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer a variety of court reporter services to attorneys and clients in numerous different case types, from general depositions to video depositions and more. Our court reporters often play a major role in helping document the details of a discrimination-based wrongful termination case, ensuring clients get the proper representation of their complaint to allow for full restitution. Why is our role so important for these kinds of cases, and what are some of the remedies that might be possible for clients within them? Here’s a primer.

It’s All in the Details

For the vast majority of wrongful termination cases based on discrimination, tiny details often make a major difference, with the minutiae of the case itself being major factors in determining its outcome. This is why it’s so important to have a highly-trained court reporter working at these events, capturing every single detail of what’s said during deposition questioning through transcripts that are truly thorough and comprehensive.

For instance, many wrongful termination cases where the past employee is alleging discrimination will involve conversations and even arguments between the employee and his or her superiors regarding various levels of treatment within the workplace. These conversations may not directly address issues of discrimination, but if they can be shown to nevertheless have had a major impact on why the person in question ended up being terminated, it might lead to punitive deterrents for the employer involved such as fines or other forms of restitution.

Types of Damages

In cases where the court finds an employer did engage in discriminatory practices that led to wrongful termination, there are two primary types of damages that may be levied:

  • Compensatory: This is where the court will look at all lost wages of the person in question, including both direct and indirect earnings, along with benefits they may have lost out on.
  • Punitive: This is where fines associated with discriminatory practices are levied against an employer, to discourage this type of activity from occurring again in the future. These are often large, and can vary widely from case to case.

There are limits on both these damage forms based on the size of the employer, but they are significant in both cases.

In either of these cases, a thorough and comprehensive court reporter’s transcript of the deposition event will be crucial in being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that discriminatory practices did indeed take place. How? By showing a pattern of behavior within the testimony contained within the deposition transcript itself.

For more on the role our court reporters play in wrongful termination cases alleging discrimination, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters and our services, speak to the team at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

court reporters worker’s compensation

Value of Court Reporters in Worker’s Compensation Hearings

Worker’s compensation benefits are of enormous value to many employees out there, but there are cases where employers will try everything in their power to avoid paying these out. These situations often lead to civil court cases covering denial of worker’s compensation benefits, and for such cases, the court reporter involved holds major value.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer the very best real-time court reporting services in Arizona, with court reporters trained to handle a variety of different case types — including worker’s compensation cases. What are the important elements involved in such cases, and why do quality court reporters hold value? Here’s a primer.

What’s Involved in Worker’s Compensation Denial Cases

In any case involving an employer’s denial of worker’s compensation to an employee, the purpose of the hearing will be to determine whether the employer is liable for payment of benefits. A deposition will typically be taken with an injured employee, and possibly an employer representative as well.

During the hearing, the plaintiff and their attorney will make an argument on behalf of the injured party; on the flip side, the employer’s counsel will be making their case for why the employee should not receive benefits. A number of factors may be used to prove or disprove certain themes here, from specific testimony to documented evidence presented.

Value a Court Reporter Holds

Because the outcomes of many worker’s compensation cases rest largely on the specific areas of evidence that are presented, the court reporter handling such a case can hold major value. A skilled professional will be able to record all of the information presented during testimony without flaw, making their services vital for following along with proceedings.

When it comes to worker’s compensation cases, there are two sides that must be taken into account — that of the injured employee and that of the employer. If either side isn’t properly represented, not only could the outcome of the case be in question, but legal issues with appeals and other post-hearing proceedings may crop up.

In addition, worker’s compensation cases may include several areas of terminology and jargon that can be confusing to those who may not work in the field on a regular basis. For example, medical terminology and measurements are often presented properly for the case to have any validity.

By working with a court reporter who understands worker’s compensation cases like the back of their hand, it becomes possible to follow the hearing with ease. The goal in these cases is to determine whether or not an injured employee should receive adequate worker’s compensation payments for their troubles, and having information recorded thoroughly and completely can only aid in this process.

For more on what happens in worker’s compensation cases and why a quality court reporter is so important, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters and the services we offer, speak to the team at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

court reporter wrongful termination

Court Reporter for Wrongful Termination: Documenting Phoenix Cases

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the important roles court reporters play in wrongful termination depositions. These cases, which require significant documentation and involve several forms of detail, are benefitted in several ways from the presence of a quality court reporter.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer real-time court reporter services for numerous case types throughout Phoenix, including for wrongful termination depositions of any sort. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over a few of the other ways court reporters provide value within the realm of wrongful termination.

Perspectives of Everyone Involved

There will often be multiple perspectives involved in a wrongful termination claim, from the employee who was terminated to the HR representative who conducted the termination. A court reporter can help capture all of these perspectives in a clear and concise manner, ensuring that nothing is lost in translation.

This becomes especially important when multiple people are giving testimonies, as it can be difficult to keep track of who said what. With a court reporter there to capture every word, the case will be more streamlined. This can make it much easier for everyone involved–especially if there are multiple people giving testimonies on each side of the argument.

Documenting Outbursts or Poor Behavior

In some cases, wrongful termination depositions become emotional affairs. In these instances, it’s crucial to have a court reporter who can document any outbursts or poor behavior. This information can be used later on as evidence, and can help to paint a more accurate picture of the case.

In fact, the court reporter’s documentation can be used to prove any sort of momentary lapse or fit of anger, so it is important that they are able to catch every single detail. There are many cases where the actual result has been impacted directly by the court reporter’s presence, simply because they were able to document the moment of poor behavior.

Exposing Contradictions

Another vital role of a court reporter within any wrongful termination deposition is their ability to confirm or deny any contradictions or differences in testimony. Case files are often long and complicated, and it is easy for small details to get lost along the way.

A court reporter can help sort through all of this information, ensuring that nothing gets missed. They are trained not only to document every word said throughout any deposition, but also to cross-reference with previous testimonies to look for any contradictions. This can be an extremely valuable tool in any wrongful termination case.

Court reporters play a vital role in wrongful termination depositions, and at Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer real-time Phoenix court reporter services for numerous case types. Contact us today for more information.

court reporters wrongful termination

Court Reporters for Wrongful Termination: Policy and Work History

There are several forms of deposition or court case where court reporters are perhaps even more important than their usual level of value, and a good example here is wrongful termination depositions. Because of the details involved in these cases, plus the multiple variables that might be considered in rendering a judgement, court reporters are vital for the proper proceedings in these cases.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide real-time court reporter services to clients throughout Phoenix, with wrongful termination cases among the many types we’re happy to handle. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over all the major roles held by quality court reporters during a wrongful termination case, plus how our team provides immense value for clients holding these depositions.

Why Wrongful Termination Cases Are Unique

Many who have been in a courtroom for any kind of deposition are already aware of the value court reporters provide; what’s unique about a wrongful termination case that makes them so especially important? The primary answer: The number of details and possible variables involved.

You see, while some may think wrongful termination cases are straightforward, the reality is the exact opposite. There are so many questions worth noting, including: Was it even truly wrongful termination in the first place? Were there any other possible causes for the firing not considered? How does one navigate their way through a group termination when many employees may have legitimate reasons to claim wrongful termination themselves?

Different forms of faulty evidence might be introduced during these cases, too. For all this and more, a quality court reporter is needed — and we’ll go over the specific roles they fill in our next several sections.

Proper Documentation of Company Policy

Company policy often plays a huge role in wrongful termination cases, which is why a court reporter is needed to document it as precisely as possible. In these depositions, one of the major roles held by a court reporter is making sure that company policy is taken into consideration, and they’ll do this by taking every word of the deposition down phonetically.

Both the company and the plaintiff’s attorney will review these policies, and will use this information for both the plaintiff and defendant’s cases. Our court reporters will do their part by making sure that every detail of these policies is noted, including any that might have even minor bearing on the case.

Presenting Complete Work History

Another important role of the court reporter involves noting any history the plaintiff has with the defendant, and this includes work history. Hardworking court reporters will note every detail of a plaintiff’s work history, such as what led to their termination or any reasons they may have been passed over for promotions. They will also include whether previous employers have also terminated the plaintiff for any similar or related reasons.

In some cases, these details can be very telling regarding whether or not wrongful termination occurred — so it’s always important to provide the court reporter with as much information and documentation as possible.

For more on the role our Phoenix court reporters play a wrongful termination deposition, or to learn about any of our court reporter or video deposition services, speak to the pros at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

difficult video deposition witnesses reporting

Difficult Video Deposition Witnesses: Knowledge and Reporting

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on how to deal with a frustrating or intentionally misleading witness during a video deposition. Such witnesses are always a headache, but remote depositions present a few different potential issues than live ones in these cases, and there are often different solutions you may focus on for a troublesome witness.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we offer not only a wide range of video deposition solutions and related court reporter services, but also assistance for attorneys in a number of related situations. What are some other methods we tend to recommend to attorneys dealing with difficult witnesses during a video deposition? Here are several.

Be Familiar With Technology

One broad approach that shows immense value in many areas of video depositions, including dealing with tough witnesses, is a robust understanding of the technology behind the deposition and your court reporting equipment. For example, if you — or your court reporter — suspect that a remote participant is using video streaming software (which could be used to artificially increase volume levels), there is a device offered by some manufacturers to determine whether such programs are being used.

In addition, understanding how to adjust or cut off video feeds can take an unpredictable deposition and make it more manageable for you. This is particularly true if the technology being used doesn’t offer any obvious ways to do so, which could be the case with certain chat-style applications being used for depositions.

No one is saying you have to become an expert in remote video technology overnight, not by a long shot. Rather, a simple familiarity with the basics of deposition technology (and how it’s meant to work) can make all the difference.

Ensure Proper Recording and Documentation

Finally, the use of professionals for reporting and documenting the deposition often plays a role of its own in limiting issues with tough witnesses. Some witnesses are only behaving badly because they don’t think their behavior will have consequences; the deposition recorder and reporter are two people that should be able to hold them accountable if their actions cross any lines.

If a witness perjures himself or herself, for instance, your documents (and your court reporter) will provide invaluable evidence of the incorrect statement. There will be no debate or deniability. In such cases, you may want to seek the assistance of a third party to serve as an official stenographer for your deposition, no matter how it is being conducted – remote or otherwise – and utilize their services for any follow-up meetings that result from the deposition. This way, you’ll have a verbatim record of the conversation from beginning to end, which can be a powerful tool for your particular case.

For more on how we’ll play this vital role for you, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters or video deposition services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

difficult video deposition witnesses

Difficult Videoconference Deposition Witnesses: Approach and Directives

Dealing with frustrating or intentionally difficult witnesses is always one of the less enjoyable parts of an attorney’s job during a deposition hearing, and these problems can be exacerbated in some cases during remote hearings. Lack of in-person contact may allow witnesses to behave even more unusually than they could in a typical courtroom setting, and attorneys need to come prepared for this sort of thing.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re happy to offer a wide range of video deposition services and other remote solutions for attorneys and their clients. Our team plays a valuable role in ensuring that all remote deposition information is properly recorded and can be referred to, serving as a major resource for attorneys in several ways. What are some examples of good approaches we’ve seen attorneys take with tough witnesses during a videoconference deposition, and what do we recommend down these lines? This two-part blog series will go over everything you should know.

Changing Your Approach

The first important theme here is evaluating your typical approach to witnesses during a deposition, then deciding if any changes are necessary for remote hearings. The attorney-witness relationship is usually quite different in videoconference depositions, so attempting to maintain the same level of rapport you’re used to having with witnesses under your direct supervision may actually create more problems than before.

For example, repeatedly badgering a difficult witness during an in-person deposition may actually have a strong impact in some cases, but this is likely to be less effective during a remote hearing given that you are unable to speak face-to-face. Therefore, attorneys should consider modifying their approach toward these witnesses before they begin questioning them in order to get better results.

One major adjustment area is within the realm of visual cues, which should be used to their full extent during video depositions in order to get witnesses to provide more useful information. This may sound like common sense, but attorneys should try to maintain at least some physical contact with their clients while speaking with them on audio visual conference calls. Eye contact, body language and even posture will all help express your points to the other people involved.

Clear Direction

Videoconference depositions can be unfamiliar to some witnesses, including in technological areas, so it’s important to give clear, straightforward directions about what the witness should do and how he or she should interact with your team before you begin questioning them. We recommend going over this information briefly by phone during a pre-deposition conference call before each witness hearing, as it will help clarify expectations and prevent the need for regular re-explaining during the deposition itself. If the witness has any questions or concerns, particularly regarding video elements like how to position themselves for the camera or how loudly to speak, these should be addressed ahead of time.

For more on handling tougher witnesses during a videoconference deposition, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters and the services we provide, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

opposing counsel phoenix deposition

Handling Frustrating Opposing Counsel During a Phoenix Deposition

While we wish it were not the case, not all attorneys in various depositions or hearings will conduct themselves with the expected class and decorum. There are even some opposing attorneys who will be outright uncooperative, from intentionally poor behavior to obstruction of certain rules or regulations.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re here to offer numerous Phoenix court reporting, video deposition and related services that allow for proper records and documentation of any court hearing. In addition to ensuring you have quality transcription services in place to capture any unruly behavior from another attorney in a given deposition, what are some of the other tips we can offer on managing an uncooperative opposing counsel? Here’s a primer.

What is Opposing Counsel’s Motivation?

First and foremost, no matter what the opposing counsel is doing to frustrate you, calmly search for their likely motivations. Perhaps their client has instructed them to take a frustrating approach to the deposition for a specific reason, or your opponent could be a new attorney who may not know the rules or regulations of the deposition process.

While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for handling an opposing counsel with poor behavior, if you approach it from a place of understanding what might have motivated their actions, you’re likely to react less emotionally and more effectively.

Review Past Rulings

The legal world has had a number of uncooperative attorneys within it over the years, and there have even been cases that litigate this precise manner, such as Security National Bank of Sioux City v. Abbott Laboratories. This was a case that involved numerous violations of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by the defense attorney, involving repeated and excessive objections, witness coaching and frequent interruptions.

This attorney was sanctioned for his actions, and the same thing is possible in your case.

Handling Issues Quickly

In many cases, opposing counsel will make frequent interruptions or baseless objections based on seemingly minor issues. Their actual goal in many of these cases is to seek to control the discovery process, delaying the process to make it tougher for you.

For this reason, getting on top of this behavior quickly is important. It should be noted to the judge in the case if this entity has not already noticed it — if needed, utilize transcripts or video deposition records to prove the behavior you’re alleging in the opposing counsel. The judge in your case will take any such allegations and handle them appropriately, including reviewing transcripts if needed.

For more on how to handle a deposition involving an uncooperative opposing counsel, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters or their services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.