March 25, 2020 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court today issued a temporary order until April 30, 2020, allowing court reporters to take depositions remotely, outside the physical presence of a witness, in light of the existing public health emergency.
“[C]ourt reporters taking depositions in this state need not be in the physical presence of the witness for the purpose of administering an oath for a deposition upon oral examination pursuant to Wis. Stat. §§ (Rule) 804.03 and 804.05 or court order so long as the court reporter can both see and hear the witness via audio-visual communications equipment for the purposes of readily identifying the witness,” the order states.
“[C]ourt reporters qualified to administer an oath in the State of Wisconsin may administer an oath to a witness at a deposition remotely via audio-visual communications technology from a location within the State of Wisconsin, provided the person administering the oath can see and hear the person and can identify the witness,” the order continues.
“[I]f a witness is not located within the State of Wisconsin, the witness may consent to being put on oath remotely via audio-visual communication technology by a court reporter qualified to administer an oath in the State of Wisconsin pursuant to this order,” the order states.
The order notes that “this order does not alter the ability of parties, by written stipulation, to provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner pursuant to Wis. Stat. § (Rule) 804.04; and (2) the parties to an action or proceeding may, by written stipulation, modify the procedures provided by this order.”
[R]emote administration of an oath at a deposition via audio-visual communications technology pursuant to this order shall constitute the administration of an oath "before" a court reporter under Wis. Stat. §§ (Rules) 804.03(1) and 887.01(1) or any court order authorizing a deposition upon oral examination; and any other rule of procedure, court order, or opinion applicable to remote depositions that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-visual communication equipment to administer oaths at depositions remotely is hereby suspended, and will remain suspended until April 30, 2020.”
Read the full order here. Check the State Bar’s Covid-19 Response Page for court orders and other important information related to the coronavirus response.