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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1202
Experience:  Experienced, and knowledgeable family law attorney.
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My sister (CW) and brother in law (RK) are going through a

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My sister (CW) and brother in law (RK) are going through a divorce and they have 2 children under the age of 6. Both the adults have full time jobs yet my brother in law has been the primary caregiver because my sister simply doesn't care much about children. My brother in law RK takes them to the doctor, church, does homework with them, takes them to their activities, all family parties, etc. My sister CW does everything possible to get out of being with the kids, is addicted to spending money and also has some psychological issues that kept her in the house one month this year and one month last year. CW makes 400k per year and has $0 in savings.

My family and I are supporting by brother in law in the divorce and, as such, my other sisters and I have prepared affidavits attesting to CW's lack of involvement and issues and my brother in laws full parenting over the last 6 years. These affidavits have not been submitted to a court or any lawyers yet but my sister CW is aware they exist.

I have received a subpoena from CW's lawyer commanding me to 1.) provide a deposition to him and 2.) provide ALL communications (emails, texts, phone records) between my sisters and my brother in law since Jan 1, 2012.

Is it legal for someone to request ALL of these communications? I would expect that I have some level of privacy and freedom of speech and that my private communications cannot simply be made available to anyone that goes to a court and demands the documents. I speak to my sisters and brother in law almost every day about topics that have absolutely nothing to do with my sister CW or her divorce. In addition, I work with one of my other sisters and so our work communications have nothing at all to with CW and are company confidential.

I feel like this subpoena is absolutely ridiculous. #1.) They didn't ask me for anything before serving me the subpoena, #2.) the subpoena is much too broad

My questions are:
- does this sound like something I could block and successfully win in court? If not, why? It really seems like this is too broad.
- I don't have money for an attorney? If I win, could I get my legal fees covered by CW?
- how do I go about blocking?

Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you! If you find my response helpful, please rate it positively so that I can receive credit for my work.

Q) Does this sound like something I could block and successfully win in court? It really seems like this is too broad.

Sort of. Keep reading.

Deposition
As to the subpoena for you to give a deposition, you COULD try to block that, but it will probably not go anywhere. CW and her attorney (as do RK and his attorney) have a right, within limits, to depose people who may have information that will lead to relevant evidence in the case. Since you have had the opportunity to observe CW & RK over the years and know of her involvement, or lack thereof, with the children, and you may be a witness in the case, they have a right to depose you. You have a right to have counsel with you during the deposition.

Since your interests seem to be more aligned RK's interests, then probably his attorney will provide "cover" for you and will protect you to some degree during the deposition. (That's what I would do, at least.) But, RK's attorney is not YOUR attorney. The only way to guarantee an attorney is on your side is to hire one and have him or her there with you.

Subpoena for documents
As for the other subpoena for every communication under the sun, you've hit the nail on the head. The attorney's demand for ALL of your communications are overly broad, burdensome, and the request is vague. CW & RK are now in the discovery stage of the divorce process. They get to (gasp!) discover information about the other side's case. But you are NOT a party to the case; at best you are a third-party witness. This means that the demands the court will allow CW to place on you to produce documents and other stuff is limited.

The motion you or an attorney would file is called a motion to quash a subpoena. The decision of whether or not a subpoena should be quashed, or modified, is an issue within the discretion of the judge.

I've attached a sample motion to quash.

Attachment: 2012-10-01_041126_sample_motion_to_quash_illinois.pdf



This is simply a document I found on the internet and I cannot vouch for its accuracy. I'm just using it as an example; note that it was filed about three years ago, so certain legal requirements for this type of motion could have changed since then. It would be best for you to get legal advice in Illinois from a licensed attorney who can file one on your behalf.

Q) I don't have money for an attorney? If I win, could I get my legal fees covered by CW?

Maybe; probably not. The demand for the documents is too broad, but probably not so far out in left field that a judge would grant your motion to quash AND order CW to pay your legal fees. What is more likely to happen is that the judge would simply order CW and her attorney to be more specific as to what they want, and emphasize that they do not have a blank check to get every communication for the past year, as well as a pint of blood from you, too.

Q) How do I go about blocking?

You really should get an attorney to represent you and do this for you. If you cannot afford an attorney, perhaps RK's attorney would file a motion on your behalf. Also, perhaps he or she could talk to CW's attorney and see EXACTLY what it is they want. If they can narrow down their requests to something reasonable, perhaps there is middle ground here to compromise.

Be advised, however, that CW's attorney may want to play "hardball" and, in the process, bill his or her client (CW) for zillions of hours in legal fees fighting this motion tooth and nail. I don't want to sound cynical, but that's how the game is played, especially if CW has a hefty income and the ability to pay.

Finally, be aware that if you do NOT respond to the subpoena and you do NOT file a motion to quash the subpoena or to modify it, a judge could find you in contempt, order you to produce the information anyway, and punish you with a fine or other possible consequences. So, act soon.

I hope this helps you. Good luck to you with dealing with these issues.

Take care,
Shuband
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1202
Experience: Experienced, and knowledgeable family law attorney.
S. Huband, Esq. and 5 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there any possible way I can file this motion to quash myself?
I really cannot afford and I do not want RK to waste his money. CW is throwing around her money and I'm sure her lawyer is happy to spend hours on this one.

Asking for everything under the sun document wise seems like an absolute waste of the court's time and one that CW and her attorney should be penalized for. CW paying my reasonable attorney fees seems reasonable because of their games but perhaps I am too close.

Thoughts? Thank you!

Donna
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again. If you have found my answers to be helpful thus far, please click "accept" or rate them positively so that I can receive credit for my work.

Q) Is there any possible way I can file this motion to quash myself?

Of course. You are entitled to represent yourself and to file any pro se motions on your own behalf. You need to format the motion properly and cite the correct legal "lingo" so that the judge will have all the information he or she needs to grant your motion. Generally, a judge will give more leeway to a person who is pro se (i.e. representing herself) if the motion is not exactly correct, at least more leeway than would be given to an attorney who is expected to know exactly how to do things. But the safest course would be to hire an attorney of your own, or ask RK's attorney if he or she would do it for you. You should act quickly, whatever you choose to do, as there may be a time deadline on filing a motion to quash. (i.e. You could potentially waive the motion if it is not filed within a certain amount of time.)

Q) CW is throwing around her money and I'm sure her lawyer is happy to spend hours on this one.

When you said that CW makes $400K a year, I had already guessed as much. It always seems to go this way when I have opposing parties with mega bucks to spend.

Q) CW paying my reasonable attorney fees seems reasonable because of their games but perhaps I am too close.

In my experience, this sort of "everything but the kitchen sink" request is common but it's not SO out in left field crazy that the judge will be outraged and say, "Are you joking me! You're paying the attorneys fees on this one!" to CW's attorney. My guess is that the judge will sustain your motion to some degree and probably limit the scope of the request. Obviously I don't know this judge so I cannot make a judgment call based on my experience with him or her. I am just going by my own experience where I practice and making my best guess as to what will happen.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
Shuband
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1202
Experience: Experienced, and knowledgeable family law attorney.
S. Huband, Esq. and 5 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  S. Huband, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hello again!

I was notified that you rated the answers I gave positively, and I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the legal matters we discussed turn out well.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,
Shuband

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