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Court Reporting Agency Sues Georgia Board

ATLANTA (CN) - A court reporting agency claims the Board of Court Reporting of the Judicial Council of Georgia and the Judicial Council of Georgia unfairly singled it out for offering $25 gift cards during a promotion. Brown & Gallo, which bills itself as the largest independently owned court reporting agency in the country, sued in response to the Board's Oct. 2 formal complaint.

The Board complained that Brown & Gallo violated its rules and a state law by giving away promotional gift cards to customers who scheduled depositions.

Under the board's Ethics Code, "a Georgia certified court reporter shall: refrain from giving, directly or indirectly, any gift, incentive, reward or anything of value to attorneys, clients, or their representatives or agents, except for nominal items that do not exceed $50 in the aggregate per recipient each year."

Brown & Gallo offered a $25 gas card for each deposition scheduled this year from May 26 to Sept. 1. The agency says that the promotion was offered "on behalf of the corporation and not on behalf of its individual court reporters, directly or indirectly."

Brown & Gallo says its competitors have offered similar promotions for scheduling depositions and were not sanctioned for it. It says the rule should be invalid as it is "vague and ambiguous, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious, overbroad and exceeds the scope of the Board's rulemaking authority."

Brown & Gallo is represented by L. Lin Wood with Powell Goldstein.

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