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Complaints Against a CSR

Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters

Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters
Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa  50319
(515) 348-4670 
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What is the Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters?

The Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters administers the examination and certification process for shorthand reporters in Iowa. The board also administers continuing education requirements and disciplinary actions with respect to shorthand reporters. The board advises the court on policies regarding shorthand reporting in Iowa.  

Who Can/Should File a Complaint?

A complaint should be filed by anyone who believes that a Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) or applicant has acted illegally, irresponsibly, or unprofessionally in providing CSR services. The most effective complaints are those that contain firsthand, verifiable information. While anonymous complaints will be reviewed, they may be impossible to pursue unless they contain documented evidence of the allegations made. Unless all persons are willing to be contacted and authorize release of information, the Board may be unable to investigate and prosecute a complaint.

What Types of Complaints Does the Board Handle?

Complaints under the Board’s jurisdiction include some of the following behavior:

  • Excessive fees charged by official CSRs

  • Unprofessional conduct, including availability and delivery of transcripts and/or related services

  • Fraud or other crimes

What Types of Complaints Are Outside of the Board’s Jurisdiction?

The Board does not investigate fee or billing disputes between CSRs and CSR firms, nor does the Board regulate fees charged to consumers for services/products rendered by a firm or freelance CSR. The Board cannot require a CSR or firm to offer services other than an original copy of a transcript (i.e. rough draft, real time, condensed). Lastly, the Board cannot itself amend or change a transcript prepared by a CSR.

How Do I File a Complaint?

Your complaint must first be submitted in writing and signed by you before it can be processed. The complaint must include your address and telephone number, be dated, identify the reporter at issue, and give any other information about the reporter and the event (e.g. hearing date) which you may know.

When completing the complaint form, provide a statement, in your own words, which explains the nature of your complaint. Include as much detail as possible, as well as copies of any documents you have, such as transcripts, contracts, correspondence, etc. that can be used as evidence. Don’t mail the originals. Include dates, times, and locations of depositions, trials, or other proceedings wherever possible. Don’t worry about citing specific sections of the law that you feel have been violated.

How Are Complaints Processed?

You will be notified that we have received your complaint within seven days of its arrival. Complaints are reviewed and the process overseen by the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation who serves as the Board’s administrator.

Initial Review

Complaints that are filed are initially reviewed by the Board’s administrator to confirm that the Board does possess jurisdiction over the CSR (i.e. they are licensed in Iowa) and that the allegations of misconduct, if true, would be a violation of any of the board rules or the Code of Iowa.

Investigations

If the board concurs in the seriousness of the allegations made by the complainant, the board shall, in writing, advise the reporter of the charges involved. While details of your complaint and the investigation are confidential and are not public record, they must be disclosed to the reporter during the investigation process in order for the reporter to respond. The reporter shall have 30 days from the receipt of the board’s notice to answer the charges in writing. The reporter may request a personal appearance before the board. The board shall then review again the charges made and determine whether the complaint can be disposed of informally or if contested case proceedings should be commenced.

Informal Disposition

Informal disposition is a process whereby the board and the reporter work cooperatively to resolve the dispute short of formal contested case proceedings. This may range from dismissal of the charges or an informal stipulation all the way to a consent suspension or revocation. The decision to resolve a matter via an informal disposition in the board’s sole discretion.

Formal Disposition

Formal disposition, known as contested case proceedings, is a serious matter. If it is determined that the reporters’s acts may constitute a violation of law or involved transcript fraud, the matter may be submitted to the Iowa Attorney General to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to file formal charges. If formal charges are filed, the reporter may request an administrative hearing be scheduled so that he or she can contest the charges. You may be required to testify at the hearing. More information on the process may be found in Iowa Court Rule 46.14.

Should Unlicensed Practice Be Reported to the Board?

Yes. If you have evidence that a person is practicing without a license, please notify the Board in writing. The Board will investigate the allegations and, if sufficient evidence is found, will refer the matter to the local District Attorney for criminal prosecution.

How do I get a Complaint Form from the Board?

Complaint forms can be downloaded here. Please send it and any accompanying document to:

Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters
Judicial Branch Building
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa  50319

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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