How Should Businesses Respond to a Subpoena?

As a business owner, you undoubtedly have to spend a lot of time, money, and overall effort on keeping your company running smoothly. If you are issued a subpoena, you need to make sure that you know how to respond properly. It is commonly thought that when someone receives a subpoena, that they need to comply with the request right away and have no other options. This is not *typically* the case. The thing that businesses cannot do is ignore a subpoena. If your company has been issued a subpoena, make sure that you know your options so that you can respond appropriately.

Do Not Ignore the Subpoena

In most situations, when a business receives a subpoena, it is because there is a court case going on that requires information or expertise that you have. It does not mean that you are a party to the court case or at risk of being made a party to the case. Despite this, however, you are legally required to respond to the subpoena in a timely manner. Ignoring the subpoena is the same as ignoring a court order and can have a variety of negative legal consequences.

Preparing Your Response

As with almost all legal actions, you will want to consult with your attorney before responding to the subpoena. Even if the subpoena is for something that you can easily provide, it is a good idea to go over your full range of options with a lawyer to ensure that your interests are being protected – which might include narrowing the scope of what’s being provided. If you may want to object to the subpoena, it typically must be done within 7-14 days of receiving it, depending on the court that issued it.

Objections to subpoenas can be made on a variety of different grounds, including that it would be costly to your business to comply with the request. You would generally have to be able to show that compliance with a subpoena would place an undue burden on your business in order for your objection to be accepted.  If it is going to take some time to comply with the subpoena, you will want to reply to the issuing attorney/party with an estimate as to how long it will take and why it will take that long. This reply should generally be submitted through your attorney.

Do Not Talk to Others About the Subpoena

You should not talk to friends, family members, other business owners, or anyone else about the subpoena that you receive. While in most cases it would not cause issues, there are some cases that require privacy, especially if a protective order is in place in the lawsuit. In addition, if your business becomes involved with the case in any way, speaking about the subpoena could introduce additional problems which might not be apparent at the time. When your business is issued a subpoena, you should generally only with your attorney about it, and only involve those staff who are needed to compile any information requested. Your attorney will let you know which other parties can be made aware, based on the response required. Contact attorney Carla Aikens to discuss your specific situation and get the legal advice you need today.

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Carla D. Aikens, P.L.C.

When it comes to the mission and values of the law firm of Carla D. Aikens, P.L.C., there are two words which provide the foundation for everything we do: honesty and integrity. We would be honored to represent you with honesty and integrity in every facet of your case. Please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email to schedule your free consultation.

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