The Northern District started making copies of requested court transcripts (not depositions) available online via Pacer – click here for the Northern District’s statement on its new transcript procedures. This is great news for Northern District litigators and litigants. It will be much easier to get information about ongoing cases and, in time, prior cases, information that used to require calls to court reporters or prior counsel.

But the online transcripts also create additional responsibilities.* Pursuant to recently added Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2 (click here for the Blog’s discussion for 5.2), certain personal information – social security numbers, identities of minors, and financial account numbers, for example, must be redacted from filed papers. Counsel for a party has twenty one days after a transcript is filed to e-file a Transcript Redaction Request that specifically identifies the information to be redacted and its exact location within the transcript. Also, the request cannot fully list the information to be removed, because that would require redaction of the Redaction Request.

If redaction of information beyond personal identifiers is desired, a separate motion to redact must be filed with the court. When a transcript is redacted, only the redacted version will be made publicly available.

A couple of other notes regarding availability and pricing:

  • Transcripts will be e-filed by the court reporter within three days of delivery to the party requesting the transcript.

  • For ninety days after filing, a transcript will be viewable only electronically and only at the Clerk’s office. After ninety days, the transcript will be publicly available anywhere online.

  • Pacer’s fees will not be capped at thirty pages for transcripts.

*  This may seem like excessive discussion of procedural minutia, but if you litigate or practice in the Northern District, or anywhere that puts transcripts on Pacer, I encourage you to read on. Online transcripts increase the risk of violating the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (see discussion regarding Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2 below) and of accidental public disclosure of sensitive or confidential information regarding litigants or witnesses.