The Voiceless Victims of StoryCloud

Jamie S. Blair’s Monday post, “Cloud”-Based Malfeasance in the Digital Court Reporting Industry explored some of the human cost of digital reporting. When StoryCloud decided to wrap up its business earlier this year, there was no warning and no severance for its workers.

Ken Kalb from StoryCloud allegedly stated that investors had grown weary of yearly losses from StoryCloud, raising the possibility that it was a zombie corporation. Even if it was not a zombie corporation, Jamie Blair notes that he later got information from Stenonymous (and his friend Christopher Day!) about the writ in Texas that was filed and truth behind the StoryCloud debacle.

This all illustrates what I have been saying on social media for a while. Digital court reporters across the country are being misled to believe this is the future. Worse, when things collapsed, no attorney would help, and as Blair writes, “we were victims without bellwether trial voices.” And what happened after the collapse and digital reporters came on the market? Lowball offers.

Hopefully by sharing with and educating each other we can continue to reach more people before they face the kind of situation the employees of StoryCloud faced. For now, I’d like to thank Jamie for coming forward with the truth and give us some perspective of what it looked like on “the other side.”

StoryCloud Crushed in Texas

Last week word spread that a ruling had been made that the Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC) in Texas should investigate StoryCloud. From my outsider point of view StoryCloud was or is one of those companies obsessed with cutting corners and/or cutting the stenographer/court reporter out of the deal. That business model is flawed not only because stenography is the most technologically advanced method of taking and transcribing the spoken word, but also from a legal standpoint. In some states, pretending to be a court reporter is simply illegal.

A great big thank you to Jo Ann Byles Holmgren, who initiated the lawsuit that led to this moment. She tells it better than I ever could. In short, the JBCC refused to investigate alleged violations of law. A writ of mandamus was filed to make the government do its job. A judge ruled the JBCC should investigate. StoryCloud more or less deleted its website. Perhaps this will be a roadmap for California, where the California licensing board refuses to protect court reporting consumers and regulate digital court reporting.

Click here for that raffle.

For anyone that wants the JBCC’s answer and plea, it’s here:

The response to the plea is here:

I’ll be adding a transcript of the hearing as soon as it’s available.

Following the ruling, most of the StoryCloud site was trashed in favor of a little blurb.

StoryCloud’s demise is not the only good news out of Texas. Mark Kislingbury claimed the new world record at Shaunise Day’s Fearless Stenographers Conference with 370 words per minute (WPM) for one minute at 95.4% accuracy.

I am always saying that if stenographers fight, they will win. Look no further than Jo Ann Byles Holmgren telling the government they’re wrong and winning. Look no further than Shaunise Day’s masterfully done and widely-acclaimed conference — a feat rarely pulled off by an individual unless it’s an industry veteran like Marc Greenberg (StenoFest) or MaryAnn Payonk (Empowerment). Look no further than Mark Kislingbury’s own personal triumph, defeating his former world record of 360 WPM. True failure is making no attempt to meet your goals. Until one is a true failure, one has a real shot at success.