April 18, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Interlocutory Appeal Dismissed; Plaintiffs who Claim Inability to Purchase Trial Transcripts Are Not Required to be Provided them by Defendant

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Adams v. Corrections Corp. of America on September 15, 2011.

Motion to Compel—Interlocutory Review—C.A.R. 4.2.

Plaintiffs petitioned for interlocutory review of the trial court’s order denying their motion to compel defendant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) to provide them with electronic copies of their deposition transcripts. The petition was denied and the appeal was dismissed.

Plaintiffs, 201 current and former inmates of the Crowley County Correctional Facility, sought damages for injuries suffered during a riot in which they did not participate. They alleged that CCA, as owner and operator of the facility, was negligent in not preventing or controlling the riot.

At the time of trial, CCA had deposed 118 of the plaintiffs and stated its intention to depose the remainder. During each deposition, the deponent reserved the right to review the transcript and make corrections. CCA had begun purchasing transcripts and, with each purchase, the court reporters provided CCA with an electronic copy.

Before trial, plaintiffs asserted they were indigent and thus unable to purchase transcripts to review. Approximately 170 plaintiffs remained incarcerated, out of state, or in halfway houses, and they asserted they could not travel to court reporters’ offices to review transcripts and make corrections. Based on these assertions, plaintiffs moved the trial court for an order that CCA must provide each deponent with an electronic copy of each transcript it had purchased or eventually would purchase. The court denied the motion, stating, “[T]his is clearly a money issue and this Court will not take the work product from the reporter.”

Plaintiffs then moved for an order authorizing a petition for interlocutory appeal of this ruling. The court certified the appeal over objection. Plaintiffs had asserted, and the trial court had agreed, that there was a controlling and unresolved legal question: Are plaintiffs entitled to obtain electronic copies of their depositions from CCA at no charge, as an exception to the rule that a party must obtain copies of deposition transcripts directly from the court reporter? The Court of Appeals agreed that this was an unresolved question of law, but found that it was not “controlling” and therefore not subject to interlocutory review. Because this is merely a discovery issue, it is not controlling and the appeal was dismissed.

This summary is published here courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer. Other summaries for the Colorado Court of Appeals on September 15, 2011, can be found here.

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