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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My friends employer (lets call it A) filed a lawsuit against

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My friend's employer (let's call it A) filed a lawsuit against several previous employees who started a company (let's call it B) to compete with A directly. Now, the court date is comming. B's layer sent a list to A to ask several employees of A to be witnesses and my friend's name was in the list. But my friend just turned in a resignation letter to A and she does not want to get involved in this lawsuit as she does not know anything and she does not want to waste her time. Now A ask my friend to do a pre-deposition with A's layer and deposition with B's lawyer before she leave the company. But she did not receive any request from court or B directly, Can she deny A's pre-deposition request or B's depostion request?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

A "pre-deposition" is not a term of any legal significance. All this means is that the attorney wants to talk to you informally, and your friend would have no more obligation to do that than to talk to an electrician--that is to say, none at all.

An actual deposition, on the other hand, is enforceable by contempt of court, meaning that if you fail to attend a deposition you could, at least in theory, face criminal penalties.

Even if a party doesn't know anything about the subject matter of a dispute, the attorneys are still entitled to depose them and ask them questions under oath. So, simply believing that your testimony will be irrelevant or unhelpful will not get you out of a deposition subpoena--if you are served with one, you will need to either attend or reschedule your deposition.

It sounds like at this point your friend has not received an actual deposition subpoena. She would need to be formally served for the subpoena to have legal effect. Until that point in time, she would be under no legal obligation to participate in the deposition process.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answer.


 


According to my friend. "pre-depostion" (sorry about the loose term) is a meeting she scheduled with A's lawyer to prepare B's deposition.


My friend has not receive any formal subpoena either from count or B's lawyer (Except A showed her an email from B that has the list of witnesses that B selected, the email was sent to A, not to my friend). The reason A wants my friend to cooprate with B's deposition is she is leaving A and she will have a long time travel soon.


 


It looks that she does not need to attend the meeting. However, she is still an employee of A, she believe it is better to cooporate with A before leaving A, but she also does not get involved in the lawsuit to waste her time. Could you give us some advice?


 


 

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your reply.

Unfortunately, the rules of this website and the California state bar prohibit us from providing actual "legal advice" (i.e. "telling you what to do") through this forum. We are limited to providing information about the law, with which you can choose to do as you please.

This limitation noted, what I can tell you is that, while your friend has no legal obligation to attend a meeting to prepare for a deposition with B, as her employer A would be free to terminate her or discipline her for failing to cooperate. There is no law to prohibit that.

Nobody can tell your friend what to do, but what is clear is that until she is served with an actual subpoena, she is under no legal obilgation to cooperate with anyone.

Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answer.


 


My friend does not afraid of termination as she already submitted the resignation letter.


 


But she is not sure if the meeting with A's layer is a depostion directly from A or a preparation for B's deposition. I heard that a subpoena can be issued by a lawyer. If this is true. it looks my friend has to go for the deposition. How can she check if it is a valid subpoena deposition?

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
A subpoena can and usually is issued by a lawyer through the power vested in them by the court.

She would know if she has been served with a deposition subpoena. Non-parties to a lawsuit must be served in person. Someone would have had to hand her a deposition subpoena which says "Deposition Subpoena" and informed her that she is served. The deposition subpoena would inform her that failure to appear may cosntitute contempt of court.

This is the form that is generally used: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/subp020.pdf

If in doubt, she can simply call the attorney for A and ask, "Did you serve me with a deposition subpoena?" They'd be more than happy to clarify and would have an ethical obligation to do so.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of any further service.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6761
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much for your answer! Excellent and fast advice! Highly recommended!

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome! It was truly my pleasure to assist you and I hope that you will return with future legal questions should you ever have any.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I sure will. Thank you so much!


 


 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


A follow up question. My friend just got back from A's lawyer. It is B noticed her deposition. As she is A's employee, a subpoena is not required for an employee. Is this true?


 


 

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for your followup question. I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are saying. Can you perhaps rephrase what you mean by the following?

"It is B noticed her deposition. As she is A's employee, a subpoena is not required for an employee."

Thank you so much.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Sorry about the confusion. According to my friend, B's lawyer sent an email to A stating that they want to have a deposition to several current employees of A. My friend's name was in the list. A's lawyer want to meet with my friend ( to preapare the deposition of B). When my friend ask if he (lawyer of A) serve her a subpoena deposition, A's lawyer replied "a subpoena is not required for an employee (my friend is still A's employee). I am not sure if I make it clear this time. If not, please let me know.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I understand what you are asking. A formally served subpoena is always required in order for failure of a non-party to appear at a deposition to constitute contempt of court. There are no exceptions.

What Lawyer A may have meant is that, as an employee, you'd be compelled to go because your employer could fire you if you don't. This is true--however, it is not a judicial authority, it is simply the authority an employer may excercise over his or her employees.

Please let me know if you require further clarification.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Understood. Thank you

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
No problem at all. Good luck.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks

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