At the beginning of a litigation matter, a subpoena is received. The official name is Subpoena Duces Tecum. In addition to a subpoena from a government entity, there might also be an accompanying document referred to as a “Civil Investigative Demand (CID)” or a “Request for Information or Assistance“.
A litigation support professional should always request a copy of these documents and read through them. I have listed below some standard characteristics of these documents.
1. The documents will be addressed to “Custodian of Records” and/or “Legal Department”.
2. There will be several sections referred to as Definitions, Instructions for Subpoena Compliance and Specifications. The definitions section will list terms used within their document and their official definitions. The instructions section will list the types of documents they would like to receive. The specifications section will describe the production format being requested as well as guidelines for processing the electronic data.
3. It might say “YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED TO APPEAR”.
4. It might say “YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED TO DELIVER”.
5. It might say “This Demand requires you to provide testimony to the Federal Government”.
6. It might say “requests that you furnish information or assistance as follows:”.
7. It might say “the materials identified should be produced”.
8. It might say “The enclosed Statement of Production must be executed by you or another individual holding full legal authority to attest to the accuracy, authenticity and completeness of the documents produced.”
9. There will always be a “due date” listed, however the attorneys will usually negotiate productions on a rolling basis instead of one large production.
10. There are instances where the attorneys will negotiate a subset of the requested information.
11. The signed date of the subpoena is often considered the cut-off date for all produced documents. No documents dated after the subpoena date will be produced.
12. It may reference specific date ranges they are interested in.
13. It might say that the documents must be “fully legible and complete copies”.
The litigation support professional should be consulted regarding the technical requests described in the specifications section and the litigation support professional should work closely with the service provider preparing the productions to make sure the specifications are agreed upon, prepared for and followed.
From an Australian perspective, its common for the subpoena/summons/notice to produce etc to be quite prescriptive and so set out the form in which the requestor expects you to reply in. Given that our market is dominated by Ringtail, that means that you’ll be providing the documents in Ringtail format.
Hey Matthew – Thanks for sharing the Australian perspective as always. I’m so glad you are active on this site. I sometimes joke that my government counterparts can be on a power trip with their detailed and complex requests with regard to production specs.