Trey Perez’s lawsuit against many defendants has been partially dismissed. Notably, it seems that plaintiff Depo Notes lacked standing because it was not complying with the law. For many of the defendants, insufficient facts were pled to allege group boycott or illegal anticompetitive behavior.
The case against the Texas Court Reporters Association is done.
The case was also ended against Kennedy Reporting Service and Lorrie Schnoor; Sonia Trevino and Sherri Fisher; Shelly Tucker; Court Reporters Clearinghouse.
Lexitas and Southwest are still stuck defending against claims.
I want to note that the study I always mention, Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition, was also mentioned in the order.
I see no mention of the Speech-to-Text Institute, so I’ll have to check PACER, but as of my last update, they were still in the case and hadn’t made a proper motion to dismiss, instead opting to send a “response to civil action.” I may not be a lawyer, but I previously believed that a response to civil action was an “answer” or a “motion to dismiss.”
I can’t help but continue to strongly believe that non-digital providers might be able to make a claim stick against Speech-to-Text Institute and many of the corporations that were represented on it, including Veritext and US Legal Support. Think about it.
STTI Bloc 1) Engaged in a conspiracy to manipulate the market toward digital reporting. This is all but assured considering they’ve been unable to write an effective cease-and-desist letter, or any letter, or even make a comment stating these allegations are untrue, for over two years of me publishing about it. 2) This inherently restrains trade. If you’re collectively using your considerable market power (Veritext alone may be more than 16% of the market’s revenue) to push out non-digital providers and then using your considerable market influence (there are only like five “nationals”) to convince consumers those non-digital providers don’t exist, what can it be called but a restraint of trade? You’re trying to destroy those non-digital businesses or force them to buy digital tech from your buddy, fellow STTI conspirator, Stenograph. 3) in a particular market. Well, court reporting.
And that’s just looking at those elements for group boycott. I’m quite sure if I went through all the law in the United States, I’d find other things that make it illegal to get together, publish substantial lies about a market, and mislead consumers, jobseekers, and other small businesses. Maybe there are laws against deceptive business practices and false advertising. Maybe. Who knows?
(NOTE: Facetious. Those laws exist.)
And the best part is that to claim they didn’t know the information they were publishing was wrong, the multimillion dollar corporations have to go under oath and say they never did the math on the statistics they published and it didn’t seem odd that they were projecting a shortage constituting a third of the field by 2023 with likely less than five percent of their business going uncovered, a number that existed before the 2018 “tipping point.”
Maybe this is a runaway train at this point. Maybe some stenographic and other non-digital providers are going to realize they have standing and take a crack at STTI and the corporations that were represented on its board. I reached out to Lex Ferenda a long time ago and they basically said that if we could find an appropriate claimant and lawyer, they’d consider funding the litigation. At the very least, perhaps people that have suffered damage will reach out to the FTC and their state attorney general and let them know to Google the court reporter shortage fraud and that this fraud has hurt their business, or how it has hurt their business.
If you’re reading, Trey, good luck against Lexitas and STTI. If you’re able to get to discovery, you may very well uncover the things that I was hoping to uncover through my media publishing strategy and get a nice fat settlement when their lawyers realize they don’t want that stuff to be public. And if they broke the law… why not?
NOTE: Some dismissals are without prejudice, so the complaint could conceivably be amended to allege facts satisfactory to sustain a claim against some of these defendants. I’ll continue to check the case on PACER periodically for documents.