The University of North Texas System Office of General Counsel is responsible for responding to subpoenas served on faculty members and staff employees in the course and scope of their employment with all components of the University of North Texas System. Faculty and staff members, including professional staff such as physicians, who receive a subpoena related to their employment should forward it to the Office of General Counsel immediately.
What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is a legal document that may be issued in a criminal, civil (lawsuit) or administrative proceeding. Generally, however, subpoenas received by faculty members and staff employees are issued for civil proceedings. Most often, subpoenas are issued to require a component institution to produce documents.
A subpoena may be served once a lawsuit is filed (or on special occasion before a lawsuit is filed) in order to require an individual to give testimony at a deposition, hearing or trial, or to give documents or other tangible things to one of the parties in the lawsuit. The subpoena must meet several specific requirements before it is legally enforceable. An attorney in the Office of General Counsel will review the subpoena to determine whether it is enforceable and, if not, take the necessary steps to inform the person who issued the subpoena or the court. An employee can be sanctioned by the court in which the case is pending for failing to respond to a subpoena within the timeframe set out in the document.
Testifying pursuant to a subpoena
If an employee receives a subpoena to give a deposition or to appear in court to testify, an attorney in the Office of General Counsel will meet with him or her to discuss the testimony. An attorney from the OGC or an Assistant Attorney General will accompany the employee to the proceeding.
Providing documents pursuant to a subpoena
If an employee receives a subpoena to provide documents, an attorney in the Office of General Counsel will review the documents to determine whether they are responsive to the subpoena and whether any of the information is confidential. Faculty and staff should never provide documents in response to a subpoena without first giving the information to the OGC to review.