Subpoenas: What To Do When You or Your Business Is Served
July 31, 2015
You wake up one morning, thinking that the day will go by just like every other day – lots of work and maybe a new contract. However, the one thing you never expect is to have someone serve you or your business with a subpoena to appear in court. It’s a frightening experience for many. They immediately wonder what they or their business could have done to deserve this. Sometimes, you haven’t done anything wrong, and it does not necessarily mean that your business is going to be sued.
What Does a Subpoena Really Mean?
A subpoena is a legally binding court document that requires a person, or those representing the business, to appear and testify in court or produce documentation, or sometimes both. The subpoena may be very clear about what it expects of the party who receives it, including what you need to do and when you need to respond.
Many times, it simply means that the business has some type of information or documentation that relates to a case between two other parties. However, it can also mean that there is trouble coming your way. No matter the case, you want to make sure it is not ignored. This type of problem is not one that is simply going to go away. If you do not appear in court when you are supposed to, or you do not respond to the subpoena, you could actually be found in contempt.
Do You Really Need to Appear?
Those who receive subpoenas are not generally happy about it. They do not like the idea of appearing even if they are not directly involved with the litigation. A common question is whether people really need to show up, or if they have other ways out. For the most part, following the guidelines of the subpoena is necessary and sometimes you may to assert timely objections or try to narrow the scope of the requests. This should be do through a competent lawyer.
Most of the time though, you do need to attend and/or give a timely response, or a court could hold you in contempt of court. And it is not easy to “get out of” or avoid a subpoena. In fact, if you fail to comply, they can even issue a warrant for your arrest. It is best just to face the problem head on. However, you do not want to do this on your own. You need an experienced professional to help you through it.
Do You Need an Attorney?
One of the most frequently questions asked by businesses who receive a subpoena is whether they need to work with an attorney or whether they should handle it on their own. In all honesty, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney any time you receive a subpoena – even if it appears that they only want you to provide some paperwork. They will be able to let you know exactly what you need to do, what the implications are and how to proceed.
Whether the subpoena is hard to understand, your compliance could open your business up to any liability unrelated to the current litigation, or if they are seeking privileged information, you need to have a business lawyer on your side. In some cases, it is even possible that the subpoena is invalid for some reason. It might ask you to appear too far away or they might not have paid the proper fees, which would render it invalid.
To get help from experienced business lawyer when subpoenaed, contact Chane Socarras, PLLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-609-3190.