While you might expect to receive a subpoena if you’re a party to a lawsuit, you may be surprised when you receive one out of the blue. However, subpoena’s are often used to collect information related to a lawsuit from others who may have access to relevant information
Subpoena to Appear and Testify
If you have information that may be material to a case, for example, if you were a witness to an incident, you manage the business records for an organization, you worked on a certain project, or had access to information and plans, you may receive a subpoena to testify about what you know. This may mean that you have to appear at a deposition when you go under oath and then the lawyers on both sides have an opportunity to ask you questions and find out what you need to know. It may also mean appearing at trial and offering your testimony to the court.
Subpoena to Produce Documents
You may not have direct information in regards to a case but instead be the custodian of records that are relevant to a particular dispute. Phone and web records, email, business documents, financial documents, and other physical records are often needed to prove particular facts. Generally, no one needs to appear in court or to testify, the lawyers on both sides just need to see the documents in order to gather facts.
How to Respond
If you are not a party to a lawsuit and receive a subpoena, you should gather more information before responding, particularly if the subpoena requests sensitive information. If the information is about a client with whom you have a non-disclosure agreement, you will want to review that agreement and you may want to reach out to the client (if allowed) to confirm that the request is legitimate (generally they are, but best to be safe before disclosing information) and their attorney is not first going to move to block the subpoena.
Businesses that regularly provide information in response to subpoena requests should have a process in place that review the subpoena and takes reasonable steps to confirm their legitimacy before records are released. Then, you will need to track what records were sent and to whom to confirm that you complied with the request. In some instances, you may need to provide someone who manages the records to testify on how the records are gathered and stored in order to show that no tampering of the records occurred.
If you or your business has received a subpoena, reach out to the experienced team of litigators at the Dunn Law Firm. We can help you respond in an appropriate fashion, understand how best to testify under oath, and set up a process to provide records. We can also contest the subpoena if you feel that disclosing the information is inappropriate. To learn more, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.