Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Resolution: Always Request that the Court Reporter Take Everything Down At Trial

In its recent "Non-precedential" Memorandum decision in the case of Cornelius v. Menio, No. 1382 EDA 2013 (Pa. Super. Nov. 10, 2014 Bowes, J., Ott, J. and Jenkins, J.) (Mem. by Ott, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a defense verdict in favor a doctor in a medical malpractice case over objections and arguments from the Plaintiff’s counsel that several of the jurors were allegedly close to the Defendant doctor.  

This Opinion is also notable for the fact that the Superior Court ruled that the trial court did not err in failing to record sidebars or motions to strike jurors for cause during voir dire where neither Plaintiff’s counsel nor defense counsel requested that a court reporter record the proceedings and where both counsel failed to object to any alleged failure by the court to record the same. 

Accordingly, the Plaintiff’s complaint with regards to the failure of the court to have the court reporter take down certain portions of the voir dire was considered to be waived.  

The Superior Court further rejected the Plaintiff’s argument that the trial court had the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate record for appellate review was created.  The Superior Court noted that the rules of court contain no requirements for the recording of sidebar conferences.

The Superior Court's non-precedential decision in the case of Cornelius v. Menio can be viewed HERE.  

Commentary:  So the next time a trial court judge hesitates at your desire to have a court reporter take down something to record it for possible appellate purposes, this is a ["Non-precedential"] case to politely note to the court as supporting your efforts to protect your client's appellate rights (not to mention your right to engage in some CYA).

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