This is a timeline of events I wrote out for another project. It presents a snapshot of what I have documented over the years and links many blog posts to form what I feel is the bulk of the story.
Perhaps it will help supporters to have a single document like this. Perhaps it’ll help those who get lost trying to navigate the site and understand the issues. Perhaps it’ll sit on the internet collecting internet dust. Whatever the case, just know that I appreciate every single one of you for spreading the word and sending me information. It has made all of this possible.
Summary of Fraud:
The basic idea is that these multimillion dollar corps (Veritext, US Legal, etc) got together under the nonprofit Speech-to-Text Institute to claim the stenographer shortage was impossible to solve and artificially increase digital demand, which they all then benefit from. Stenograph was also a part of STTI, as its president, Anir Dutta, was vice president of the STTI. While making these claims through STTI, many of the companies were representing to attorneys and the public that they couldn’t find stenographers. Meanwhile, they weren’t using basic methods to find stenographers, like Sourcebook / PRO Link, a national directory of stenographers. Jim Cudahy is instrumental in getting the shortage forecasted via NCRA, then he turns around and weaponizes it against us years later before I declare him a fraud and he runs off to another association about a year before the STTI gets sued and takes down its site.
Timeline of Documentation:
2013 – The Court Reporting Industry Outlook 2013-2014 is created by Ducker Worldwide for the National Court Reporters Association. Jim Cudahy is Executive Director of NCRA at this point and instrumental in getting the shortage forecasted. Notably, California’s shortage is forecasted to be 5x to 20x worse than any other state.
2014-2018 – Initiatives such as NCRA A to Z, Project Steno, and Open Steno boost stenographic recruitment and public awareness of steno. Jim Cudahy is replaced as Executive Director during this time period and goes on to do whatever he does (7 MARCOM, I think). All of the companies in question were incredibly quiet, considering there was allegedly an impending shortage of doom.
2018 – At this point, the field didn’t even believe the larger companies were using digital court reporting. I know this because it surprised people when I published about it. Around this time, companies also began advertising huge bonuses with jobs to get court reporters to cover in California, lending some credibility to shortage concerns.
2019 – Veritext begins propagandizing lawyers to get them to change their deposition notices and allow for digital court reporting. US Legal Support buys and later kills StenoTrain, which was run by Patricia Falls (court reporting educator that is now all about digital.) At this point in history, companies were trying to get digital court reporters seen as just court reporters. We began differentiating ourselves as stenographers. Remote reporting comes up as a potential fix for shortage woes.
Veritext VP Gina Hardin writes a piece about digital reporting changing the landscape of reporting. After big social media buzz, she’s allegedly fired. Veritext makes it out like she did this of her own choice rather than following the direction of the company. Veritext makes the public statement that stenography is the life-blood of our industry and that of Veritext.
Companies begin popping up making outrageous claims. For example, vTestify had a calculator on its site that said it could save attorneys $3,000 per deposition.
Stenographers are often insulted as “expensive,” but in 2019 I learned we were working for rates 30 years behind inflation. (NY)
Jim Cudahy reappears under the Speech-to-Text Institute making the claim that the stenographer shortage is impossible to solve.
At this point, the bait and switch tactics of sending digital court reporters instead of stenographers are known. A nonprofit called Protect Your Record Project is formed to warn consumers.
Open letter released from Veritext about the shortage.
2021 – Veritext makes a statement to Stenonymous that technology will not take the place of the reporter. I begin to realize the Ducker Report was flawed. I get my hands on an email from US Legal Rep Peter Giammanco where he puts IN WRITING “does it really matter if done legally and ethically…[if both products are the same.]” I document some of the materials that companies are using to promote digital and note the scarcity of pro-stenographer material. I note that BLS statistics appear inaccurate and don’t match up with NCRA’s statistics. STTI, U.S. Legal, and Veritext all use a flimsy game of numbers to continue to push the propaganda the shortage is impossible to solve.
At this point the switch is flipped and I start poking holes in STTI materials.
A website using stenography images to lure people into digital court reporting is found. When I alert ESYOH to the fraud, they take parts of it down.
BlueLedge Digital Court Reporter training is linked to Veritext – the full extent of the relationship is unknown. And Stenograph is definitely in on making money off of digital court reporting and part of STTI. Interestingly, a Veritext company appeared to share an office with BlueLedge. Stenograph’s stenographer support also took a massive dip during this time period. Even NCRA notes there may be illegal conduct coming from digital land.
It’s also noted that Veritext ran a training for NYPTI prosecutors (prosecutors often go into civil lit, Veritext’s domain). They made it seem like stenography was old and outdated despite modern computerization. Basically eliminating us in attorneys’ minds through education.
At this point in history, I declared Jim Cudahy a fraud for his part in advancing STTI’s agenda.
2022 – A couple of hit pieces are put out on me. I actually got one of them taken down. A lie is published to the internet that the NCRA predicts a need for 30,000 digital court reporters, which we later get taken down. We launch a campaign to tell the FTC what’s happening. STTI continues to publish garbage. Jim Cudahy leaves to the Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies. I note that according to BLS statistics, our median pay is falling, which is not something that occurs if there is a shortage of something (supply down, price go up.) FTC makes the claim it will crack down on companies taking advantage of gig workers. I publish and advertise the fraud some more. I document STTI has -$100,000 net assets according to a tax return. NCRA Strong finally points out that the Ducker Report is outdated.
2023 – Veritext subsidiary is discovered to have purged popular stenographer anecdote. Indiana proposes a ban on stenography in its courts. A lawsuit emerges claiming USL stole commissionable income from one of its executives, in my view strengthening the case that they’d commit illegal acts. Veritext goes after a court reporter for something they wrote on Facebook after ignoring my claims for over a year (well beyond the statute of limitations for defamation at this point.)
A lawsuit is filed against the Speech-to-Text Institute for anticompetitive behavior and the STTI takes its site off the web.
Anir Dutta calls me intellectually challenged, and when this is discovered, he apologizes. The situation causes an uproar in its customer base that results in a Town Hall Meeting with customers where Mr. Dutta stated he was no longer affiliated with the STTI organization.
That’s the story so far. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. But I beg you to look at the inertia of the companies for half a decade prior to the shortage compared to their aggressive expansion of digital thereafter, as well as the flip flopping by Veritext that points to a very real intent to deceive.
As of July 2023:
1. Lawsuit update.
2. Correction to the original article which accidentally said Jim Cudahy changed associations months before STTI took down its site. In fact it was more like a year. This confusion was a 2022/2023 typo in my notes.
As of August 2023:
I scraped the old STTI leadership off the Wayback Machine so that people can see what I’m saying when I talk about the STTI Bloc or the companies behind the organization.