You have been served with a North Carolina state court subpoena and you are wondering what your next steps are. How long do you have to respond? How should you respond? These are great questions. The attorneys at Vann Attorneys, PLLC can help you answer all of these questions. But, let’s look at the basics.
To whom is the subpoena directed? Is it the company? An individual? It is important to know who is being asked for information and who will be required to respond.
The subpoena should tell you the title of the legal action, the name of the court in which the action is pending, the number of the civil action, and the name of the party sending the subpoena request. N.C. R. 45(a)(1). It should also tell you what it is asking you to do and the deadline for your requested compliance.
Look to see what the subpoena asks you to do. Does it ask you to appear and testify? If so, is it testimony in a legal proceeding like a trial or in a deposition? Where does the subpoena command you to appear? On what date does the subpoena command you to appear?
When were you or the company served? The service date may set your deadlines for objections and responses. A party must file any objections to the subpoena within ten (10) days after service or before the time set forth in the subpoena for compliance. Do not miss this deadline!
Determine whether any of the objections enumerated in N.C. Rule 45 are applicable. A party may object if the subpoena (a) fails to allow reasonable time for compliance; (b) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter; (c) subjects the responding party to undue burden or expense; (d) is otherwise unreasonable or oppressive; and/or (e) is procedurally defective. N.C. R. 45(c)(3). Once objections to the subpoena are served by a responding party, an order from the Court is required to override the objections. N.C. R. 45(c)(4). In some circumstances, a party may need to file a motion to quash the subpoena (N.C. R. 45(c)(5)) and/or file a motion for protective order (N.C. R. 45(c)(7)). If the Court enters an order quashing or modifying the subpoena, the court may also order the party who issued the subpoena to pay all or part of the subpoenaed party’s reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees.
If you need assistance with a subpoena you have received, understanding your obligations, and/or assessing any response, please give us a call.