Rule 4017.1. Video Depositions.

 (a)  Any deposition upon oral examination may be taken as a matter of course as a video deposition by means of simultaneous audio and visual electronic recording. Except as provided by this rule, the rules of this chapter governing the practice and procedure in depositions and discovery shall apply.

   (1)  Any party may have a video deposition recorded simultaneously by stenographic means as provided by this chapter.

   (2)  A video deposition may be used in court only if accompanied by a transcript of the deposition.

 (b)  Every notice or subpoena for the taking of a video deposition shall state

   (1)  that the deposition is to be taken as a video deposition,

   (2)  the name and address of the person whose deposition is to be taken,

   (3)  the name and address of the officer before whom it is to be taken,

   (4)  whether the deposition is to be simultaneously recorded by stenographic means, and

   (5)  the name and address of the video operator and of his or her employer. The operator may be an employe of the attorney taking the deposition.

 (c)  The deposition shall begin by the operator stating on camera (1) his or her name and address, (2) the name and address of his or her employer, (3) the date, time and place of the deposition, (4) the caption of the case, (5) the name of the witness, and (6) the party on whose behalf the deposition is being taken. The officer before whom the deposition is taken shall then identify himself or herself and swear the witness on camera. At the conclusion of the deposition the operator shall state on camera that the deposition is concluded. When the length of the deposition requires the use of more than one videotape, the end of the videotape and the beginning of each succeeding videotape shall be announced on camera by the operator.

 (d)  The deposition shall be timed by a digital clock on camera which shall show continually each hour, minute and second of each videotape of the deposition.

 (e)  No signature of the witness shall be required.

 (f)  The attorney for the party taking the deposition shall take custody of and be responsible for the safeguarding of the videotape and shall permit the viewing of and shall provide a copy of the videotape or the audio portion thereof upon the request and at the cost of a party.

 (g)  In addition to the uses permitted by Rule 4020 a video deposition of a medical witness or any witness called as an expert, other than a party, may be used at trial for any purpose whether or not the witness is available to testify.

 (h)  At a trial or hearing that part of the audio portion of a video deposition which is offered in evidence and admitted, or which is excluded on objection, shall be transcribed in the same manner as the testimony of other witnesses. The videotape shall be marked as an exhibit and may remain in the custody of the court.

   Official Note

   Local rules and practice shall regulate the procedure for handling objections to questions and answers on the videotape. Suggested devices include inter alia, previewing by the judge and counsel and withholding from the evidence material to which objections are sustained; or having the operator turn off the audio portion of the videotape at the trial or hearing to exclude objectionable material or the use of ‘‘fast forward’’ by the operator at the trial or hearing to eliminate both the image and the sound of the objectionable material.

 (i)  As used in this rule, ‘‘videotape’’ includes all media on which a video deposition may be recorded.

Explanatory Note

   This Rule remains unchanged.

   Pennsylvania was one of the first states to authorize videotape depositions. Although adopted in April, 1973 as part of a two-year experimental program, the Rule appears to have worked well in practice.


   The provisions of this Rule 4017.1 amended through April 23, 1985, effective July 1, 1985, 15 Pa.B. 1727; amended April 12, 1999, effective July 1, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 2281; amended April 25, 2007, effective July 1, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 2178. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (255416) and (301351).

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