What If You Get a Subpoena?
Its scary to get a subpoena from an insurance company or an attorney, but don’t worry.
A subpoena is a legal order commanding the person or organization named in the subpoena to give sworn testimony at a specified time and place about a matter concerned in an investigation or a legal proceeding, such as a trial. A subpoena duces tecum substitutes the requirement of your appearance to testify with a requirement that you supply specific physical material in your possession. A deposition subpoena means that your sworn testimony will be taken during a phase of the trial process known as discovery, and will likely occur at a lawyer’s office.
Subpoenas may be issued by the following people involved in the legal case associated with the subpoena:
- the judge presiding over the legal proceedings
- the clerk of the court where the lawsuit has been filed
- a private lawyer representing one of the parties in the lawsuit
- a government lawyer such as the Attorney General or District Attorney
Filing an Objection to A Subpoena
The subpoena will require that you either appear, or produce documents or other material, at a specific time and location. If you want to inform the court of your objections you will need to file a Motion to Quash. Typically, a Motion to Quash contains a request to the court asking to modify or terminate the subpoena based on certain objections, and a memorandum explaining how the law supports the objections.
You should not wait until the date specified to make your objection known to the court. There are many valid reasons to object, the most common being:
Generally, the law requires that you receive (were “served”) with the subpoena in a specified way. Requirements for service vary according to jurisdiction, and the subject is too complicated to address in this guide. You should consult with an attorney or perform your own legal research to understand whether service was proper. However, this is usually not a strong objection because in all likelihood you will merely be served once again.