Videotaping Depositions

Even if it is not entirely prevalent, the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure allow videotaping of depositions.[1] Specifically the Rule 57.03(c) notes that, “[d]epositions may be recorded by the use of video tape or similar methods. The recording of the deposition by video tape shall be in addition to a usual recording and transcription method unless the parties otherwise agree.” While videotaping depositions is allowable, certain requirements must be met. Failure to meet these requirements can result in issues of admissibility.

Videotaping Depositions / The Steele Law Firm

The first requirement of Rule 57.03(c) is

“[i]f the deposition is to be recorded by video tape, every notice or subpoena for the taking of the deposition shall state that it is to be videotaped and shall state the name, address and employer of the recording technician. If a party upon whom notice for the taking of a deposition has been served desires to have the testimony additionally recorded by other than stenographic means, that party shall serve notice on the opposing party and the witness that the proceedings are to be videotaped. Such notice must be served not less than three days prior to the date designated in the original notice for the taking of the depositions and shall state the name, address and employer of the recording technician.”[2]

Thus the only requirement aside from the licensed stenographer is notice regarding the deposition itself and recording technician. This is deemed to give the other side sufficient opportunity to respond and choose their own videographer to simultaneously tape.

Beyond this, Rule 57.03 has a few more requirements. The second is that, “Where the deposition has been recorded only by video tape and if the witness and parties do not waive signature, a written transcription of the audio shall be prepared to be submitted to the witness for signature as provided in Rule 57.03(f).”[3] Further, the rule adds that, “[t]he witness being deposed shall be sworn as a witness on camera by an authorized person” and “[m]ore than one camera may be used, either in sequence or simultaneously.”[4]

Upon completion of the videotaping, “[t]he attorney for the party requesting the video taping of the deposition shall take custody of and be responsible for the safeguarding of the video tape and shall, upon request, permit the viewing thereof by the opposing party and if requested, shall provide a copy of the video tape at the cost of the requesting party.” One final, yet important note is that, “[u]nless otherwise stipulated to by the parties, the expense of videotaping is to be borne by the party utilizing it and shall not be taxed as costs.”[5] This is important to note, in case the defense is unhappy with the recording technician. The rule states that they bear the costs of providing someone else to tape the deposition.

As technology becomes more prevalent, videotaping depositions is almost sure to become more common. Some parties to litigation may have concern over what is and is not allowed regarding the videotaping of depositions. The Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure specifically allow for this videotaping. However they offer the opposing counsel the opportunity to provide their own recording technician if they disapprove. This approach is to maximize use of technology, but still allow concerns of bias to be assuaged.

[1] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 57.03 (c)

[2] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 57.03(c)(1)

[3] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 57.03 (c)(2)

[4] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 57.03 (c)(3-4)

[5] Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 57.03 (c)(5-6)[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]