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April 17, 2015 Update on Rule 4000 - The New Rules Governing PA Court Reporting Services
 

Dear Colleagues:

 

The AOPC Committee met Wednesday in Harrisburg regarding Rule 4000. The Committee members include:  Judge Stephen Baratta, Chairperson, President Judge from Northampton County; Joseph Mittleman, from AOPC;  Kristen Brown, Prothonotary of the Commonwealth Court; Claire Capristo, Allegheny County District Court Administrator; Cheryl Hansberry, a court reporter from Dauphin County; Chena Glenn-Hart, an attorney from State College; Joseph Evers, District Court Administrator from Philadelphia;  Tami Kline, District Court Administrator from Columbia County; Melissa Keating, a court reporter from Mercer County; Gerald Montella, District Court Administrator from Delaware County; Joseph Seletyn, Prothonotary from Superior Court; Judge Maureen Skerda, President Judge from Warren and Forest Counties; and Samuel Milkes, an attorney from the Harrisburg area, who is also the Executive Director of Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.  Mr. Milkes was unavailable for Wednesday’s meeting.

 

We discussed many issues regarding the rule and its pending implementation for June 1, 2015. Some of the issues we discussed included the ramifications of this Rule, its effect on the different offices, and its effect on court reporters throughout the Commonwealth. I believe it is fair to say that every member of the committee has problems with the Rule. Judge Baratta, the chair of the committee basically summarized it by saying unified rules are nearly impossible without unified terms of employment. Every county does things differently; every county has different duties for its court reporters.

 

Of utmost concern to the committee is the page rates, the economic impact on the counties and individual court reporters, and the very real negative impact on getting qualified court reporters to fill the positions as officials in the courthouses. We also discussed at length the impact of removing from the judges the discretion to approve transcript requests. Judge Baratta said it is imperative to distinguish between the public’s “access to justice” and “access to public records” and to maintain the rights of the judges to approve transcripts. Properly worded, that will address our concern of being inundated with excessive transcript requests for PFAs, custody cases for non-appellate reasons, and the like.

 

In preparation for our next meeting, we have several tasks:

 

1.          We have been asked to provide information on the state of copy sales across the nation. We believe that charging for copies has been under attack in states other than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so Cheryl and I will be in contact with NCRA to try to garner this information. If the trend is to do away with compensation for copies of transcripts due to advancements in technology and access to public records, we take the position that we should be compensated sufficiently on the original transcript.

 

2.          The Committee is sending out an email survey, through Mr. Mittleman at AOPC, to gather page rates for transcripts. That should come out early next week. We informed them some jurisdictions have an upcharge for technical material (med mal, asbestos cases, and the like); a separate charge for real-time feeds; some jurisdictions have local rules regarding transcript rates; and other jurisdictions simply charge what is outlined in Rule 5000. We need to gather this information as a per page rate WILL BE SET and we want it to be the most fair per page rate we can get. So, to that end, PLEASE submit that information completely and accurately. Although the meeting date has not been set, Judge Baratta indicated he wanted the Committee to meet again in about a month, so it is imperative that we have this information.

 

3.          Judge Baratta, after a unanimous vote, is writing a request to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania requesting that the Rule be stayed until January 2017. We, as a committee, feel there is much work to be done on this Rule. Counties are usually in budget negotiations and have to have their budgets in by August of each year, and it was thought that our work will never be completed by August. We fully anticipate the Supreme Court to grant this stay, however it is NOT granted yet.

 

I think it is important to note that the “two providers of court reporter services” chosen to be on the AOPC committee are steno reporters who are members of PCRA. PCRA fought very hard to be included on the Committee to provide input in reformulating of this rule. PCRA was recognized and granted this opportunity, and we are very grateful.

 

I think it is also important to note that this rule is, in part, a negative domino effect from our own apathy regarding the court reporting profession. We should all ask ourselves how we have positively marketed our profession that has served us so well. We have much work to do to make this rule as reporter friendly as we can, so if you’re not a member of PCRA, I suggest this is the time make yourself part of the solution.

 

Please share this information with the court reporters in your courthouses.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

~Melissa R. Keating, RPR

PCRA Rule 4000 Committee Chairperson and Member of the

 

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Please note that PCRA is fighting for all Pennsylvania reporters, but as member dues are funding this fight, certain information is only accessible by current members on the Rule 4000 tab under the Community page of this website.   

 

Once you are logged in to the website on the left side of this page, click here to go straight to the Rule 4000 tab on the Community page.

 

If you're not already a PCRA member, we hope you'll join PCRA or renew your membership and add to our strength! If your membership is current, and you need your member ID # to log in, please contact Liz Matson at headquarters at lmatson@innovativeamc.com.

 

Every reporter across the Commonwealth should be involved and supporting PCRA, both financially and with ideas and suggestions on this and other issues.

 

Click here to read the new rules.

 

PCRA is grateful to those reporters, officials and freelancers, who have stepped to the plate and have worked so hard in recent months for the benefit of all reporters. There is strength in numbers and that's where we'll have the most chance at success.

 


 
Court Reporting in the News
 
Click on the link below to read a great article published in the March 24, 2015 JCR about the NCRA mini convention won by Community College of Allegheny County.
 
 

 
 PCRA Out and About
 
 
 
Jamie Hackman and Kathy McHugh representing PCRA at the 2015 Conference of County Bar Leadership in Lancaster.
 

 
 
PCRA Announces Updated Student Mentor Program

As many of you know, serving as a mentor is a very rewarding experience and certainly, having an engaged mentor can make a huge difference for a student. PCRA is happy to announce that the Student Mentor Program has been updated with the creation of online forms that will make it easier for mentors to volunteer and students to request a mentor. Guidelines for both mentors and student “mentees” have also been developed. All the information is on the Community page on the PCRA website, but can also be accessed from the home page by using the button to the left, underneath the login box.
 
 

 
  
 
Court Case of Interest for Pennsylvania Reporters
 
A Philadelphia trial judge, in an issue of first impression, ruled lawyers, not clients, are responsible for paying court reporting costs.

Please click on the link below to read the full article. If you don't already have a free digital membership to ALM (the publisher of The Legal Intelligencer and other publications), you'll need to sign up to read the article.

 
 

 
NCRA's Take Note Campaign
 
We are excited to share this article in the JCR about NCRA's new Take Note campaign.

Don't forget to watch the video at the end!
 
 

Take Note campaign continues to pick up traction

NCRA's Take Note campaign, launched last month to push the court reporting profession into the national spotlight, continues to spark the interest of media outlets nationwide. Fox News became the latest media outlet to showcase the profession's growing employment opportunities in a special report on companies that are hiring that aired Oct. 7 on its Fox & Friends program. In the segment, the reporter notes the findings by research firm Ducker Worldwide that an additional 5,500 jobs are expected to open up across the country in the next five years. Fox & Friends is currently the #1 ranked morning show, according to cable news ratings. NCRA's Take Note campaign was built around the research findings to support the future of court reporting through national advertising and public relations outreach. The program targets potential students and asks them to consider entering a profession that promises to offer an abundance of job opportunities in the coming years. WATCH THE VIDEO 

   
 
 

 

Congratulations to Pennsylvania Reporters with New Certifications!

PCRA would like to congratulate members John J. Kurz and Kimberly A. Wilson of Philadelphia, both of whom became newly certified as an RMR after the November tests, and Shannan Marie Gagliardi of Philadelphia, who became newly certified as an RDR after the October tests.

 

We also congratulate Pennsylvania reporters Debra Anne Gerstemeier of Eagleville, newly certified as an RPR, Sharon J. Ricci of Philadelphia, newly certified as an RMR, and Susan Yoder of Morton, newly certified as a CRR after the November tests; William Feftman and Monmoney Prak of Philadelphia, both of whom became newly certified as an RPR after the October tests; and Irma E. Pavone of Bryn Mawr, who was newly certified as an RPR, and Dutcheen O. Cameron of Harrison City, who was newly certified as a CRR after the August tests.

 

Congratulations to all for your achievements!


Information about National Verbatim Reporters Association Remote Testing

 

Click here for information about remote testing for CART and captioning testers.

 

 


 
 FLIGHT  93 NATIONAL MEMORAL ORAL HISTORY PROJECT 
 
PCRA is proud to announce its partnership with the Flight 93 National Memorial Oral History and Documentation Project.  The project is entering its final nine months of a grant period and the project assistants have conducted more than 800 interviews with people associated with Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  We have an opportunity to assist with this project in the same way we have worked on the Veteran’s Oral History Project.  Pennsylvania will take the lead and recruit reporters to transcribe these interviews so the stories are preserved for future generations!  These interviews cannot be used until a transcript is completed and signed off on by the interviewee.  Time is of the essence.  We are looking for volunteers to transcribe these interviews. 
  
Donna S. Cascio, RMR, CMRS and Susan E. Kiniry, RMR, of our organization are spearheading this very important project. Please contact them and indicate your willingness to volunteer. Donna can be reached at donna.cascio@gmail.com and Susan can be reached at sekiniry@gmail.com.
 
A complete set of guidelines, forms and other information is available at the bottom of this page.
 
FLIGHT 93 IN THE NEWS
 
 
 

   
Job Opportunities in Pennsylvania
 
4/20/2015: The Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania is seeking applications for a full time Court Reporter position which becomes available on June 1, 2015. The position being filled is one of three Court Reporter positions with the County.

The position is currently a County union position with wages paid on an hourly basis of $14.62 per hour for a 32.5 hour work week and additional compensation payable for the preparation of transcripts and Court Orders as required by the Court. The additional compensation averages $1,250.00 per month.  There is a required contribution to the County Pension Plan and a partial contribution to health care coverage for the first two years after which it is fully paid by the County. There is a paid schedule of holiday, sick leave, vacation and personal time.
 
Please submit resume along with three references to:  F. Cortez Bell, III, District Court Administrator, Clearfield County Courthouse, 230 East Market Street, Suite 228, Clearfield, PA. 16830. Questions can be directed to Mr. Bell at (814) 765-2641 Ext. 2097 or fbell@clearfieldco.org.

 
4/8/2015: Cambria County has an officialship opening and is seeking applications.

Click here or on the PDF below for additional information. Reporters can direct questions to Bryan Beppler at bbeppler@co.cambria.pa.us.
 
 
3/13/2015:  Mercer County will have an opening for a full-time Court Reporter beginning in June 2015 and is seeking applications. Applications must be received by the end of business on Monday, April 13, 2015.

Click here or on the PDF below for additional information. Reporters can direct questions to Peter Morin, the District Court Administrator, at 724-662-3800 ext. 2516.
 
 
3/23/2015:  Lycoming County Courthouse is currently accepting applications for the position of Court Reporter. This is an accredited court reporter position at the full performance level. This position will serve as a court reporter for any function within the judicial system that requires reporting. Such functions could include trials, pre-trial hearing, criminal pleas, conferences, juvenile and family court hearings including contested masters’ hearings. This person will typically float from assignment to assignment on a weekly scheduled basis and record all occurrences in the Court Room and/or Hearing Room in which they are assigned. They will be required to prepare transcripts and orders when necessary in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Administrative Operations.
 
Click here or on the PDF at the bottom of this page for the full announcement. Reporters can direct questions to Keely Hitchens in the Court Administrator's Office at 570-327-2243.
 
 
2/6/2015:  The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania located in Philadelphia is accepting applications for Official Court Reporters. This is highly-skilled stenographic work, reporting and transcribing verbatim testimony of court proceedings through the use of a computer-aided stenotype machine. This work also involves the use of a computer to transcribe notes of testimony. Transcripts represent the official record of court; therefore, employee’s transcription skills require precise accuracy.
 

Click here or on the PDF at the bottom of this page for the full announcement and the employment application. Reporters can direct any questions about the job prior to submitting an application to Cathy Parker at 215-683-8073.
 
 

New York State Senior Court Reporter Examination
 
Please click here for the test announcement letter for the New York State Senior Court Reporter Examination on June 13, 2015 and click here for additional information. Contact Linda Dunlap-Miller at 212-428-2595 with any questions.
 

 


PCRA HAS AMAZING MEMBER DISCOUNTS! JOIN NOW to take advantage of these MEMBER-ONLY discounts which can save you hundreds of dollars on things you use for your job.
  • 15 to 25% savings on Office Depot items
  • 10% off Pengad products
  • 15 to 25% off selected ProCAT products
  • NEW! 20% off Reporting Solutions' PDF-it subscription service
Click here to see all the details on the Member Discounts page. 
 

 




Court Reporters Demonstrate their superior skills

If you have ever wondered how the closed captions "appear" on the television, this video will show you a couple of the country's best court reporters/captioners and how fast they can write.  You will be amazed! Check it out! Click on the video below!

 

 

Court Reporting in the News as a growing and profitable career!

MyFox Atlanta
Carlette Jennings, from the Brown College of Court Reporting, joined the Good Day Atlanta crew to talk about a somewhat surprisingly lucrative career in the world of court reporting! CLICK ON THE VIDEO Below TO WATCH THIS FULL REPORT!

 

 

 



Forms/Resources that relate to this page (9)
Cambria County Court Reporter: PDF File
Post Date: 4/18/2015
Mercer County Court Reporter: PDF File
Post Date: 3/27/2015
Lycoming County Job Announcement: PDF File
Post Date: 3/27/2015
NCRA Key Points for Online Testing: WORD File
Post Date: 9/27/2014
Volunteer Hours Log: PDF File
Post Date: 3/23/2014
PCRA Flight 93 Transcription Guidelines: PDF File
Post Date: 3/23/2014
PA Court Reporters Volunteer Form: PDF File
Post Date: 3/22/2014
Oral History Description Doc2: PDF File
Post Date: 3/22/2014
Insert for Packet Flight 93 Oral History: PDF File
Post Date: 3/22/2014
Right-clicking on the link to a form you want, then select "Save Target As" and have it saved to your computer where desired.
File Downloads that relate to this page (2)
Job Posting for First Judicial District of Pennsylvania: -PDF File
Membership Form: -PDF File

 Fill out the PDF and mail in to become a member.

Contact PCRA
P: 703-729-4861
F: 703-935-2266
Email: info@pcra.com
The Outline Newsletter

The Outline - Winter 2015