If your personal injury case does not settle it is likely that you are going to trial. As part of the pre-trial process is the discovery process. During this process there is what is called a deposition. This article and subsequent ones will discuss depositions as part of the pre-trial process of discovery – subpoena depositions.
A deposition is a question-and-answer session that is used to gather information about the case. It allows parties to the case to find out the likely evidence that will be used by the either side.
With few exceptions, any person with knowledge of facts linked to the case can be deposed. Unfortunately, most people do not want to be deposed or appear for a deposition on their own accord or goodwill. This is likely because depositions are no easy thing; they are stressful and very long. However, a person can be forced to attend a deposition by way of a subpoena.
A subpoena is “a written order to compel an individual to give testimony on a particular subject”. The subpoena must be served on the person by way of a service process. Generally, the service process involves hiring a process server. The subpoena forces the person to appear at a specific place and a specific time to give their testimony. However, it must follow the strict guidelines set out by law; these include:
- providing the name of the court and title of the action
- commanding attendance
- specific text
That being said, it must be noted that there are protections that are provided to a person who is subpoenaed. For example, they may file a motion to ‘quash’ or ‘modify’ a subpoena for various reasons. One reason they might provide is failure to allow reasonable time to respond to the subpoena. Additionally, in instances where complying with the subpoena requires the person to travel and unreasonable distance.