Subpoenas, Complaints and Other Legal Documents
The staff of the Office of the General Counsel, or persons acting at their request or direction, are the sole University officials and employees authorized to accept subpoenas, complaints, notices of class action, warrants, or other legal documents addressed to the University, its President, Senior Vice Presidents, Provosts, or other institutional officers, its Trustees, or other persons named in their capacities as University officials or employees.
Subpoena, Summons, Complaint, or other Legal Document:
- If service or delivery of a subpoena, complaint, notice of class action, or other legal document (“Legal Documents”) is attempted in person by a sheriff, process server, or other individual, the Legal Documents should be politely declined and the individual referred to the Office of the General Counsel.
If there are any questions as to whether a document or notice is a “Legal Document,” the General Counsel’s office should be consulted as soon as possible.
- If you unknowingly or erroneously accept Legal Documents, you should immediately deliver the Legal Documents to the Office of the General Counsel by hand, interoffice mail or any other expedient means. Please do not send the documents by email or by fax.
- If Legal Documents are delivered by mail or equivalent means to an officer or employee, the Legal Documents should be sent immediately to the Office of the General Counsel.
- If an employee is served with a subpoena, in their own name, but in his or her capacity as an employee or agent of the University, to provide testimony or for testimony and records, he or she must contact the Office of the General Counsel prior to responding to the subpoena.
Whenever sending Legal Documents to the Office of the General Counsel:
Please indicate, on a separate paper:
- the name, department and phone number of the person that received the Legal Documents,
- the date and time at which the Legal Documents were accepted/received,
- who effected the service delivery, e.g., sheriff, attorney, messenger, etc. and
- the means by which the Legal Documents were delivered, e.g., mail, fax, etc.
If an individual from a law enforcement or governmental agency appears with a search warrant, the employee should politely request that the individual display law enforcement credentials.
If the individual declines to produce law enforcement credentials, the employee should immediately contact Public Safety.
If the individual displays law enforcement credentials, the employee should ask the law enforcement officer to wait until the Office of the General Counsel has been contacted regarding the proposed search, and the employee should then immediately contact the Office of the General Counsel. If contact cannot be made with the Office of the General Counsel, or the law enforcement officer declines to delay the search, the employee should comply with directives from the law enforcement officer and as soon as possible contact Public Safety. In the latter case, Public Safety will notify the Office of the General Counsel of the execution of the search warrant.
Unless the individual presents a valid search warrant, University personnel are not to release information, formally or informally, without contacting the General Counsel’s Office.
Other requests for information
Requests for written or oral information from external attorneys, agencies, or courts should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel. No University employee should speak to an outside attorney, except on his or her personal business, without the express written consent of the Office of the General Counsel.
Complaint: a legal document stating a civil (non-criminal) claim against entities or individuals for the alleged violations of the rights of another entity or individual(s). A complaint and summons are the legal documents that initiate a lawsuit. Formal responses to complaints must be filed with the court within a short prescribed time period.
Search warrants: court orders authorizing law enforcement personnel to search a defined area and seize the property described in the warrant. Search warrants require immediate attention.
Subpoenas: court orders directing the testimony of an individual or the production of documents at a specified time and place. A subpoena usually requires a prompt, but not an immediate, response.
- Subpoenas or other valid requests for student information received by the Dean of Students offices or Public Safety will be handled and processed by the receiving office.
- Subpoenas or other valid requests for employee information received by Human Resources or Payroll will be handled and processed by the receiving office.
In the case of the above exceptions, the receiving department is expected to handle the request for information, the University response and retention of both in accordance with the University’s Record Retention Policy.
Last updated: April 13, 2018