Most people will never hire a lawyer, file a lawsuit, or testify in court. But business owners are much more likely to become involved in a lawsuit.
In your capacity as the owner of a business, you may have to answer to your investors, lenders, customers, suppliers, and employees. You may be governed by a board of directors. You are likely to have business relationships with other businesses and business owners. As a result, you may receive a subpoena to give documents and testimony – a deposition or at trial – in a lawsuit in a number of capacities.
Here are the things you should know about the steps that you should take after you receive a subpoena in Florida.
Step 1: Read the Subpoena
This might seem elementary but reading the subpoena will tell you a lot about the reason why you were subpoenaed in the first place. The subpoena will tell you about the lawsuit for which it was issued. It will tell you which lawyer issued the subpoena. The subpoena will list the date, time, and place of the deposition.
If the subpoena also requires the production of documents, a list of document requests will accompany the subpoena. And if you were subpoenaed as a representative of your business, the subpoena should explain the topics you will be asked about in the deposition.
Step 2: Check Your Calendar
Determine whether you will be available at the time and date given for the deposition. If you have a prior conflict or you are unable to arrange to attend, identify some alternate dates and times. Make sure you take note of the location and include travel time in your plans.
Step 3: Call Your Lawyer
Do not call the lawyer who subpoenaed you. Instead, call your business attorney or a trusted business litigation attorney to represent you at the deposition and to help you produce the requested documents. The lawyer can arrange for a different place or time for the deposition if the place and time on the subpoena do not work for you.
Although you must make a good faith effort to attend the deposition, a court cannot compel you to appear at a time in which you have other commitments. A court cannot compel you to travel to an inconvenient location for a deposition, either.
If the lawyer who subpoenaed you will not compromise on the time or location of your deposition, your lawyer can file motions with the court to provide for a reasonable date, time, and location for the deposition and document production. The lawyer can also object to any improper document requests in the subpoena and request a hearing for the court to resolve those objections.
Step 4: Prepare for the Deposition
You should plan to prepare extensively and discuss the deposition with your lawyer before you go. The lawyer can explain how depositions work and what to expect. You can also discuss any concerns that might arise during the deposition. The lawyer can advise you in addressing these problem areas and will review key documents that you will likely testify about at the deposition or trial.
A court reporter will present at the deposition to make a transcript and the deposition will likely be videotaped. You should dress appropriately and get plenty of rest the night before your deposition.
Step 5: Attend the Deposition
You must attend the deposition. Otherwise, you’ll be at risk for a judge holding you in contempt of court. Your business attorney will attend the deposition with you. The lawyer can create a record of objections to the questions asked.
After the court reporter completes the deposition transcript, you should review the transcript to make sure it matches up with your testimony. If it includes any errors, you should note them.
Contact the Frazer Firm
If you have been subpoenaed to give a deposition or produce documents in a court case, contact the business attorneys at The Frazer Firm to schedule a consultation and protect your business.
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