NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 33, NUMBER 14
MONDAY, JULY 16, 2001
RULE PROPOSAL
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF SHORTHAND REPORTING
STANDARDS OF PRACTICE; TRANSCRIPT FORMAT; PROHIBITED PRACTICES

Additions are indicated by <<+ Text +>>; deletions by <<- Text ->>.
Changes in tables are made but not highlighted.

Proposed Repeal and New Rule: N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4

Proposed New Rules: N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.8 and 5.9

Authorized By: State Board of Shorthand Reporting, Jay J. Church, Executive Director.

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1.

Proposal Number: PRN 2001-281.

Submit written comments by August 15, 2001 to:

Jay J. Church, Executive Director

State Board of Shorthand Reporting

PO Box 45019

Newark, NJ 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

Pursuant to its rulemaking authority, N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1, the State Board of Shorthand Reporting (the Board) is proposing to repeal the current N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4 and proposes a new rule regarding prohibited practices, and is proposing new rules concerning licensee standards of practice (N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.8) and the required format for transcripts (N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.9).

The Board proposes to repeal N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4, Professional misconduct, and replace it with new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4, Prohibited practices. The new rule eliminates the provision prohibiting any lottery, sweepstakes, give- away or other professional contest as a means to induce others to use or to continue to use the services of a certified shorthand reporter because the Board found that this language was vague and failed to adequately address its concerns.

Proposed N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4(a) sets forth prohibited practices by certified shorthand reporters. The proposed subsection prohibits certificate holders from providing incentives or rewards to attorneys, clients or representatives or agents, but permits them to distribute promotional items of nominal value which advertise their businesses. Certificate holders would also be prohibited from providing or arranging to provide reporting services, in a judicial or quasi- judicial matter and/or deposition if they: are a party to the action, or a relative, agent or employee of one of the parties; have a financial interest in the action or its outcome; or are related to, an agent of or an employee of, an individual or entity with a financial interest in the action or its outcome. Certificate shorthand reporters are not permitted to withhold the transcripts from either party until payment is rendered. Certificate holders are also prohibited, by this new rule, from entering into or arranging any contracts or financial relationships that compromise the impartiality of the shorthand reporter or that may result in the appearance that the impartiality of the certificate holder has been compromised. The Board believes that this provision will protect the public and all parties from the appearance that the certificate holder may favor or appear to favor the party that is employing them. Proposed N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4(b) advises that a violation of any provision of the rule constitutes professional misconduct and may be grounds for disciplinary action, including the suspension or revocation of certification.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.8 sets forth standards of practice for a certified shorthand reporter. The rule requires certificate holders to produce an accurate verbatim transcript of the recorded proceeding and to produce a complete transcript of the recorded proceedings, unless the use of an excerpt of a transcript is authorized by a court order, agreement of the parties or by the request of a party. Certificate holders must also attach a certification page attesting that: the certificate holder is unrelated to the parties in the action; has no financial interest and is not related to, an agent of or employed by anyone with a financial interest in the outcome of the action; the transcript is a verbatim record of the testimony provided under oath before any court, referee, board, commission or other body created by statute of the State of New Jersey; and including the notary number, expiration date and certificate number. The rule also requires that the certificate holder deliver a transcript to a client or court in a timely manner as determined by law, court rules or by agreement of the parties. Finally, the proposed new rule requires certified shorthand reporters charge that all parties and/or their attorneys in an action the same price for an original transcript and copies of a transcript for like services performed in an action.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.9 sets forth format requirements that certificate holders must adhere to when preparing a transcript. The new rule sets forth the requirements for, among other things, the number of lines on a standard page, the amount of letters and spaces per line and the margin requirements.

Social Impact

The proposed repeal and new rule at N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4 will have a positive effect on the public and on certificate holders. The new rule is designed to ensure the public that a certificate holder is free from any actual or perceived conflict of interest which would impact on and/or taint their impartiality. The new rule prevents a certificate holder from using incentives to gain employment but would not prohibit certificate holders from advertising their services by distributing promotional items of nominal value. Certificate holders are prohibited from providing reporting services if they are a party to the action, a relative, agent or employee of a party, have a financial interest in the action or outcome or are related to, an agent or an employee of an individual or entity with a financial interest in the action or its outcome. The Board believes that this provision protects the public by removing any perceived or actual conflict of interest in a pending matter, again ensuring a reporter's impartiality. Prohibiting certificate holders from withholding a transcript from a party until payment is rendered ensures that neither party gains an advantage when the other has a billing dispute with the certificate holder and prohibits interference with the administration of justice due to the conduct of a certified shorthand reporter. Finally, the new rule prohibits certificate holders from entering into any contracts or financial arrangements that would make it appear that the impartiality of the certificate holder has been compromised. Certificate holders will benefit from open competition for employment and the public's greater confidence in the integrity of the profession.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.8 will benefit both the public and certificate holders. The proposed new rule requires that certificate holders produce an accurate verbatim transcript and a complete transcript, attach a certification page, deliver the transcript in a timely manner and charge all parties the same price. The proposed new rule further ensures the public of the certificate holders' impartiality in these matters. Certificate holders will benefit from the public's greater confidence in the integrity of the profession. Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.9 sets forth the transcript format for certificate holders. This will benefit the public by ensuring integrity and uniformity in the preparation of the transcript.

Economic Impact

The Board expects that the proposed repeal and new rules will have a positive impact on the public by ensuring integrity and uniformity in the preparation of the transcript. The Board believes that the proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4 may have a minimal negative economic impact on some certificate holders because they will not be permitted to provide reporting services if they have a conflict of interest by participating in the proceedings. Finally, the Board finds that the proposed provision prohibiting certificate holders from withholding transcripts from either party until payment is received is warranted in order to ensure that shorthand reporters adhere to high professional standards and prohibit the interference with the administration of justice by withholding the release of transcripts.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed repeal and new rules are governed by N.J.S.A. 45:15B-1 and are not subject to any Federal requirements or standards.

Jobs Impact

The Board expects that the proposed repeal and new rules will not result in the generation or loss of jobs in the State.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The proposed repeal and new rules will have no impact on the agriculture industry in the State.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., (the Act) requires the Board to provide a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the proposal will apply. If, for the purposes of the Act, the approximately 1,300 Board certified shorthand reporters are considered "small businesses" within the meaning of the Act, then the following analysis applies.

The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed repeal and new rules including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs, outline the manner in which it has designed the rules to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses, and to set forth whether the rules establish differing compliance requirements for small businesses.

The proposed repeal and new rules do not impose reporting or recordkeeping requirements but do impose several compliance requirements. Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.4 specifies practices which certificate holders may not engage in. Certificate holders will be expected to comply with these new compliance requirements which prohibit particular practices as discussed in the Summary above.

Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.8 sets forth specific standards of practice which certificate holders must adhere to. These practice standards are also compliance requirements as discussed in the Summary above. Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:43-5.9 requires that certificate holders follow the specified transcript format which are also compliance requirements as discussed in the Summary above.

The Board believes that because the proposed repeal and new rules are intended to ensure the public that a certificate holder is free from any actual or perceived conflict of interest which may affect the certificate holder's impartiality, the provisions of the new rules must be applied uniformly to all certificate holders regardless of the size of the business.

Costs of compliance are discussed in the Economic Impact above. The Board believes that no professional services are likely to be needed to comply with the proposed repeal and proposed new rules. The Board believes that because the proposed amendments and new rules are intended to ensure the public that a certificate holder is free from any actual or perceived conflict of interest which may affect the certificate holder's impartiality, the provisions of the amendments and new rules must be applied uniformly to all certificate holders regardless of the size of the business.

Full text of the proposal follows:

<< NJ ADC 13:43-5.4 >>

13:43-5.4 <<-Professional misconduct->> <<+Prohibited practices+>>

<<-The use of any lottery, sweepstakes, give-away or other promotional contest as a means to induce others to use or to continue to use the services of a certified shorthand reporter shall be deemed professional misconduct.->>

<<+(a) A certified shorthand reporter shall not:+>>

<<+1. Provide incentives or rewards to attorneys, clients or their representatives or agents to use the services of a certified shorthand reporter. Certified shorthand reporters may distribute promotional items of nominal value which advertise their business;+>>

<<+2. Provide or arrange to provide reporting services, in a judicial or quasi-judicial matter and/or a deposition, if he or she:+>>

<<+i. Is a party to the action;+>>

<<+ii. Is a relative, agent or employee of one of the parties;+>>

<<+iii. Has a financial interest in the action or its outcome; or+>>

<<+iv. Is related to an agent or is an employee of a person or entity with a financial interest in the action or its outcome;+>>

<<+3. Withhold transcripts from either party until payment is rendered; or+>>

<<+4. Enter into or arrange any contract or financial relationship that compromises the impartiality of the certified shorthand reporter or that may result in the appearance that the impartiality of the certified shorthand reporter has been compromised.+>>

<<+(b) A violation of any provisions in (a) above shall constitute professional misconduct and shall be grounds for disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of certification as a certified shorthand reporter in the State of New Jersey by the Board pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-21 et seq.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-5.8 >>

<<+13:43-5.8 Standards of practice+>>

<<+(a) A certified shorthand reporter shall:+>>

<<+1. Produce an accurate verbatim transcript of the recorded proceeding;+>>

<<+2. Produce a complete transcript of the recorded proceedings, unless an excerpt of a transcript is authorized by court order, agreement of the parties or request of a party;+>>

<<+3. Attach a certification page to all transcripts attesting that the certified shorthand reporter is unrelated to the parties involved in the action; has no financial interest and is not related to an agent of or employed by anyone with a financial interest in the outcome of the action; is a certified shorthand reporter; the transcript is a verbatim record of the testimony provided under oath before any court, referee, board, commission or other body created by statute of the State of New Jersey; and including the notary number, expiration date and certified shorthand reporter certificate number;+>>

<<+4. Deliver a transcript to a client or court in a timely manner as determined by law, court rules or by agreement of the parties; and+>>

<<+5. Charge all parties and/or their attorneys in an action the same price for an original transcript and charge all parties and/or their attorneys the same price for a copy of a transcript or for like services performed in an action.+>>

<< NJ ADC 13:43-5.9 >>

<<+13:43-5.9 Transcript format+>>

<<+(a) A certified shorthand reporter shall follow the following transcript format:+>>

<<+1. No fewer than 25 typed lines of transcript shall be on a standard 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper not inclusive of the header or footer of a page;+>>

<<+2. Each line shall contain no fewer than nine letters and/or spaces per typed inch, and no less than 52 letters and/or spaces per line;+>>

<<+3. Each question and answer shall begin on a separate line;+>>

<<+4. Each question shall begin no more than seven spaces from the left hand margin with no more than seven spaces from the "Q" and "A" to the text;+>>

<<+5. The carry over "Q" and "A" text shall begin at the left hand margin;+>>

<<+6. The colloquy material shall begin no more than 15 spaces from the left hand margin with the carry over colloquy to begin at the left hand margin;+>>

<<+7. Quoted material shall begin no more than 15 spaces from the left hand margin, and carry over lines shall begin no more than 10 spaces from the left hand margin; and+>>

<<+8. Parentheticals and exhibit markings shall begin no more than 15 spaces from the left hand margin, with the carry over lines beginning no more than 10 spaces from the left hand margin.+>>


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Posted July 16, 2001