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Thread: Legal Subpoena?

  1. #1
    mgmkitty is offline Member
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    Question Legal Subpoena?

    What is the name of your state? California

    An ex co-worker from a previous job is suing our former boss personally and his company. Her lawyer has called me several times asking me questions that I know nothing about, I told him I can't help her case and to not call me again. He continued to call and harass me and now I have received what looks like a subpoena to be a witness. The paper I received is a faxed copy, the only signature is from her lawyer (no clerk or judge or anyone else), there is no state seal or anything to make this look official. It also says "page 2 of 3" at the top, and I only received page 2. I'm incredibly hostile that this woman is dragging me into this, and if there is any way I can avoid wasting my time on this I will do it, but I will not ignore this if it is legit. Is this an official subpoena? It just doesn't look right. Thanks.
  2. #2
    ANGIEMR is offline Junior Member
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    Does It Have A Court Date And Time?

    I Would Just Call The Clerk For The Court And Ask Them. Maybe You Could Fax It To Them And They Could Give You The Answers You Are Looking For.


    If It Were Me During My Little Lunch I Would Go To The Court House And Get My Answer And Explain My Situation.

    Good Luck!
  3. #3
    seniorjudge Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by mgmkitty
    What is the name of your state? California

    An ex co-worker from a previous job is suing our former boss personally and his company. Her lawyer has called me several times asking me questions that I know nothing about, I told him I can't help her case and to not call me again. He continued to call and harass me and now I have received what looks like a subpoena to be a witness. The paper I received is a faxed copy, the only signature is from her lawyer (no clerk or judge or anyone else), there is no state seal or anything to make this look official. It also says "page 2 of 3" at the top, and I only received page 2. I'm incredibly hostile that this woman is dragging me into this, and if there is any way I can avoid wasting my time on this I will do it, but I will not ignore this if it is legit. Is this an official subpoena? It just doesn't look right. Thanks.
    Sounds pretty fishy all right.

    HOWEVER, you better make sure that this is not a real subpoena, lest you wind up in the clink for not showing up.
  4. #4
    meganproser Guest
    If you decide to ask a clerk for information make sure you verify the information you are given before you ACT on it. Clerks are not supposed to comment on any questions regarding procedure or legalities but often they will answer questions that they think have “simple” answers.

    If you end up having to explain your actions to the Court, it is no defense that you were acting on information from a clerk.
  5. #5
    Randall Somer is offline Junior Member
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    Ask former Boss or His attorney

    I am no attorney, and have very limited knowledge when it comes to law. I would inform my former boss and ask him to consult his attorney or one could hire their own attorney.
  6. #6
    Rhubarb297 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgmkitty
    What is the name of your state? California

    An ex co-worker from a previous job is suing our former boss personally and his company. Her lawyer has called me several times asking me questions that I know nothing about, I told him I can't help her case and to not call me again. He continued to call and harass me and now I have received what looks like a subpoena to be a witness. The paper I received is a faxed copy, the only signature is from her lawyer (no clerk or judge or anyone else), there is no state seal or anything to make this look official. It also says "page 2 of 3" at the top, and I only received page 2. I'm incredibly hostile that this woman is dragging me into this, and if there is any way I can avoid wasting my time on this I will do it, but I will not ignore this if it is legit. Is this an official subpoena? It just doesn't look right. Thanks.
    I'd get more information, but in my state attorneys can serve a notice of subpoenas on a witness ...they don't have to go through the Court or the Clerk's office. Now if a non-attorney wants to send out a subpoena, they have to go to the Clerk's office and get a form. But the form is already prestamped with the Clerk's signature on it. You just fill it out and serve it. You don't go through the Court at all. You do later file it with the Court. But that's just a matter of some clerk sticking it in the court file. With it in the file, the attorney or litigant can ask that the subpoena be enforced if the witness doesn't show up for trial.

    You can try to quash the subpoena, but that's unlikely to happen. You might as well resign yourself to the fact that you are a witness and have to testify.
    If this subpoena is for some reason is defective or not "official", all they have to do is issue you another one. Then it would be your burden to try to quash it...and that rarely happens.
    Last edited by Rhubarb297; 02-26-2005 at 08:28 AM.
  7. #7
    rmet4nzkx is offline Senior Member
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    This is California, no Indiana so California law applies.
    You may have received as a courtesy fax notification of the subponea and you may expect other offical delivery of the subponea.
    Yes you can be subponeaed even if you don't want to be and it is not harassment, perhaps if you had cooporated they may not have had to subponea you.
    Look at the number on the bottom of the page and look at the form to discover what is missing. [url]http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/[/url] You may want to check with the superior court to see if they show filed service for the subponea and you may want to consult an attorney.
  8. #8
    meganproser Guest
    “I have received what looks like a subpoena to be a witness. The paper I received is a faxed copy, the only signature is from her lawyer (no clerk or judge or anyone else), there is no state seal or anything to make this look official. It also says "page 2 of 3" at the top, and I only received page 2.”

    OP gave no information as to how she received the subpoena. Her question was not about service; it was about the validity of the document itself.

    As far as which law applies, OP has given no information as to where the case is pending. Since she seems to expect a “state seal”, one might assume the case is in a state court but advice based on assumptions of circumstances does not serve OP.

    I had no problem understanding the preface to Rhubarb’s comment:


    “I'd get more information, but in my state...”

    He made no assumption about which rules do apply; he merely offered the fact that in some states, an attorney is authorized to issue a subpoena.

    ‘Is this an official subpoena?’

    OP, no one can answer this question for you, unless you tell us what the subpoena is commanding you to do and which court’s authority the subpoena was issued under.

    Once you determine that the subpoena was properly issued as per the rules of the issuing court, with ALL necessary documents and/or witness fee attached, you need to determine if service was valid.

    Some failures to comply with procedure automatically invalidate the subpoena and you can safely ignore it. Other failures are less critical and you are required to obey the subpoena unless you first have it quashed.

    The fact that the document is on fax paper, does not make it any less valid.
  9. #9
    sarena207 is offline Junior Member
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    State of Texas

    I have the same problem as the original post - however I am in Texas. I was handed a "Subpoena" a few minutes ago under the same circumstances. Just wondering about its validity.
  10. #10
    dcatz is offline Senior Member
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    sarena207
    The following is part of a post in another forum. It's undoubtedly too late to be of assistance to the original poster, mgmkitty, and that's too bad because it incorporates the language of the California statute. However, it may still be sufficently timely for you.

    In the post from which it was taken, the question had to do with a Subpoena Duces Tecum, which is a subpoena for documents. However, it just as easily could have been a subpoena to attend a deposition or to appear at trial.

    On the information presented in the original post here, it sounds as if the subpoena was valid (because a court seal is not required) but, as I suspect that mgmkitty discovered, it can't be served by fax. That's not an issue in your case, and I suggest that you treat the subpoena as valid, until you've established conclusively that it's not, rather than the other way around. If you ignore it without checking to see that a case is pending and that the party whose name is on the subpoena wants you to appear, you could find yourself cited for contempt.

    If this information is not too late and your subpoena commands your appearance at a proceeding, note that it probably also says that you're entitled to compensation (usually only a small sum to cover mileage, parking etc.). If you haven't checked with the subpoenaing party, you might want to do that. If you're entitled to compensation and you ask for it and aren't paid, you don't have to appear in most states. Double-check your own. That much information the court will give you.

    a subpoena duces tecum is, in fact, "a writ or order of the court" just as much as a deposition subpoena or a witness subpoena. In a civil setting, the subpoenaing party is more commonly the attorney for a litigant or a litigant himself, when "in pro per", but it's still treated as having been obtained from the clerk of the court, and disobedience of a subpoena is punishable as a contempt (with such sanctions as the court deems appropriate, including monetary or evidentiary sanctions).
    Last edited by dcatz; 10-16-2005 at 10:01 PM.

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