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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Attorney experienced in numerous areas of law.
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I live in California and I just got a subpoena to be deposed

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I live in California and I just got a subpoena to be deposed as a witness for a court that is in Georgia. What is the protocol? What if I can not afford the travel? What if I do not have someone to care for my children?

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Customer:

hi

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question.

Brandon M. :

Is the location for the deposition in Georgia?

Brandon M. :

I understand that the court is in Georgia, but the location may be elsewhere.

Customer:

I'm not sure

Brandon M. :

It should indicate on the deposition where it is to take place. It should give the date, time, and location.

Customer:

They had previously requested to travel here for a voluntary deposition which I was fine with unitl they said they needed me for 7-8 hours

Customer:

so I stopped responding to their requests

Customer:

Then they offered to cover child care but because I was advised the deposition was voluntary I refused

Brandon M. :

Do you have the deposition in your possession right now? It should give the date, time and location. The location of the deposition is important.

Customer:

no

Customer:

I did not open it

Brandon M. :

I trust you that you know it is a subpoena for a deposition without opening it, but how do you know it is a subpoena for a deposition if you didn't open it?

Customer:

but their entire case is in Georgia

Customer:

because they had been emailing me to be deposed and then I got cc'd on another email from the other sides attorney saying that they were going to subpoena me - the other side is contesting that it is past the dead line and I am not a key witness

Brandon M. :

That makes sense. Is the case pending in a federal court located in Georgia, or a Georgia state court?

Customer:

I believe it would be a state matter- I worked on a TV show and someone is suing the network, the talent and the production company because their was a deceased person shown ( who was blurred) and from what I have been told they felt it was defamitory to show him

Brandon M. :

Defamation would normally be a matter of state law, so I would agree with your estimate.

Customer:

so what options do I have?

Customer:

Do I need to hire an attorney if it would be too much of a financial burden to participate?

Brandon M. :

I would strongly recommend having an attorney open the envelope and respond because I strongly suspect that the subpoena for deposition will be unenforceable. Because the nuances of every case are different, if my client received a subpoena for deposition, I would basically contact the attorney or party who sent the subpoena and ask under what legal theory they believe they could subpoena my client from out of state. If I wasn't satisfied with the answer (which would be extremely likely), I would tell them (out of courtesy) that my client would not be appearing. In the hypothetical case where there was something about the specific situation that would lead me to believe that the subpoena was enforceable, there is compensation available for travel and the witness' time, but it's pretty minimal (up to $65 total for travel and time, last time I checked), so it is best to avoid if possible. The good news is that this is probably not going to take a lot of an attorney's time--maybe an hour tops--so it would be relatively inexpensive to hire someone. It would take about 5 minutes to speak with you, 1 minute to review the letter, and 5 minutes to talk to the party or their attorney.

Brandon M. :

So basically, if they want to bring you out of state to do a deposition, I would expect them to be unable to do so unless there's something unique about your case. I recommend letting an attorney handle the communications.

Customer:

Ok thank you. I will contact someone. appreciate the assistance today.

Brandon M. :

My pleasure. Did you have any other question?

Customer:

no thanks

Brandon M. :

Great, let me know if further clarification is needed, and please feel free to leave a positive rating once you are completely finished (I work for ratings).

Brandon M. :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX a great rest of your day!

Customer:

will do thx

Brandon M. and 6 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again. I re-examined my answer to your question, and I felt that I needed to clarify it a bit. Effectuating a valid subpoena across state-lines is oftentimes difficult, if not legally impossible, but it is more possible when the deposition is to take place in the state where the subpoenaed party is served and resides. If the deposition is to take place in Georgia and the subpoenaed party resides in and is served in California, it would be extremely unlikely in any given case that attendance could be required in Georgia. In that hypothetical scenario, it is more likely that attendance could be required if the deposition were to occur in California, but there would still be multiple barriers to overcome. As I mentioned, the subpoena itself needs to be examined, and it should be quickly determined whether attendance can be compelled. If it does not appear that it can be compelled. If it does not appear that it could be compelled, I would typically call the attorney or party who sent the subpoena and just ask what exception they believe might apply. Best of luck.