Has your business been served with a subpoena? These legal documents are court orders that require action on your part.
The subpoena may direct you to show up at a certain location to submit to questioning or produce certain documents. The information it asks for may even be something you don’t want to share or that you just don’t have. What do you do next?
1. Don’t panic
It’s important to stay calm and read it carefully. It should tell you where you need to be and when, as well as what if any documents to bring.
The subpoena does not mean that you have been sued. It doesn’t always mean that you’re going to be sued. It doesn’t even mean you need to comply with what is asked, as you may be able to appeal it. So don’t panic.
2. Don’t ignore it
You do need to take the subpoena seriously. Remember a subpoena is a court order. Even if you think you shouldn’t be involved, you risk financial sanctions or even arrest for contempt of court charges if you don’t respond. There are ways to address these concerns during the process, so patience is key.
3. Talk to a business attorney
Common concerns you might want to discuss include:
- Sharing specific files could give anyone accessing them an advantage due to the sensitive data they contain, so find out how you can protect your intellectual property during litigation.
- Finding ways to limit the disruptions to your business operations to what’s minimally possible without violating the requirements of the subpoena.
- Divulging the requested memos or receipts could put someone in a compromising position in their personal life. It may be possible to limit the scope of the inquiry to business concerns only.
- You may be unclear about what the subpoena requires of you. Get an explanation, so you understand the steps you have to take for document preservation to protect yourself and your business.
In all cases, seek legal help to understand your next steps and your rights. We help business owners who are dealing with potential lawsuits protect their business and personal interests without exposing them to risk of loss.