Subpoenas

Witnesses are called to testify in Court through the issuance of a Subpoena, or, individuals are directed to produce or bring records to Court through the issuance of a Subpoena.  Subpoenas may be issued by a Grand Jury or Court.  Often, attorneys will issue Subpoenas on behalf of a Court.

What Can I Do Against A Subpoena

The target of a Subpoena can request that the Subpoena be quashed.  The Court may agree to do so if there is some legal restriction, such as physician-patient privilege or statutory protection for a record, as in drug treatment programs; the Subpoena is over-broad; or the witness is unlikely to be able to provide material, relevant information.  

Do not assume that upon receipt of a Subpoena that you should immediately photocopy a patient record and turn it over.  A Subpoena does not necessarily over-rule your obligation of privilege to a patient.  If you believe that the information is privileged, that the patient does not want it revealed and/or that some information in the record is irrelevant or harmful, it is your obligation to argue to the Court, through a Motion to Quash the Subpoena, that the record should not be submitted.  

Exceptions

In cases where there is a dispute as to whether a record should be turned over, the Court may choose to review the record in chambers and make a determination regarding what, if any, information should be submitted.  This in-camera review is prior to turning the records over to the parties.  

We Are Here To Help

No Subpoena should be ignored.  If you have an attorney or are part of a hospital with an attorney, contact the attorney whenever a Subpoena is received.  Inform office staff regarding their responsibility when a Subpoena is delivered. Call our Vermont office today 802-775-8800.

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