Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

3 Things to Know About Subpoenas

1. What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a document requested by a party or attorney and issued by the Court where litigation is occurring. It commands a third party to provide requested documents to the attorney to be used in litigation.

2. What if I’ve been served with a subpoena?

You typically have 21 days to provide documents to the attorney who has requested the information, or else file an “objection,” which is a document that describes why you think you don’t legally have to provide that information. There are only a few reasons why you aren’t allowed to provide the information. Reasons could be that the information requested is too hard or too expensive to get, or the information is protected by HIPPA or is privileged.

3. What happens if I ignore a subpoena?

TRCP 37.02 provides a number of sanctions a court may impose upon the infringing party: (1) refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses, or prohibiting that party from introducing designated matters in evidence (2) order that the matters regarding which the order was made or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the action in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order (3) striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, or dismissing the action or proceeding or any part thereof (4) contempt of court.

The important thing to remember here is to do SOMETHING, and you only have 21 days to do it.  If you don’t file your objection within 21 days, the objection is deemed waived. But there’s lots of things you can do.  Most of them are governed by Rule 45.07, which says that if you object, the Court may (a) order that you don’t have to comply; (b) order that you only have to comply in part; (c) order that you get reimbursed the costs of complying with the subpoena.

To raise the objection in a proper way is likely going to require you to hire your own attorney. You should do so immediately upon being served. If you don’t, especially if you are a medical professional, you risk being liable if you do share the records under HIPPA, and liable if you don’t share the records under TRCP 45.

If you’re looking for an attorney to help with a subpoena or another legal matter, call 865-685-4780 to schedule a case assessment with Margaret Held or another Held Law Firm attorney.