Video Recording a Deposition, Part 6: What if Chaos Reigns?

This is the sixth, and final, post in a series that arose from one seemingly simple question:  who may video record a deposition?  Three weeks and six posts later, I have three answers: 1) a certified videographer; 2) counsel (sometimes, depending on the court, and even then the video may not be admissible; 3) not pro se litigants.  This post ends the series with a case where everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Six depositions were taken in Robles v. Tex. Tech Univ. Health Scis. Ctr. that “were presided over by Marco Martinez, a Texas notary public.”[1] The depositions were only video recorded.  Mr. Martinez sent the recordings to the witnesses to read and sign, but “never provided witnesses with transcripts of their depositions. In addition, there is no indication Martinez sealed the original recordings, retained a true and correct copy of all the original recordings, or sent a true and correct set of recordings to counsel for either side.”  Those teensy problems led to motions.

Problem 1: “there is no evidence Martinez complied with his duty to preserve the original video recordings pursuant to Rule 30.”  Specifically, there was no evidence he “sealed the original video recordings after the depositions concluded, let alone sent sealed recordings to Plaintiff’s counsel, or retained true and correct copies of the original recordings. Consequently, the original video recordings are unaccounted for, meaning the integrity of the original recordings, as well as copies of the recordings, has been compromised.”

Problem 2:  “Neither party has provided a true and correct copy of the original video recordings.”  Given what happened, that is unsurprising.  Both parties submitted video recordings of the depositions that were incomplete, at best.  These errors made the depositions inadmissible and rendered moot the parties various substantive motions.  The court specifically noted “[t]his situation is completely attributable to the parties’ substandard deposition practice.”

[1] No. EP-14-CV-00321, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182444 (W.D. Tex. June 12, 2015).