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I just received a subpoena today from the Federal Court in

the Eastern District of North...
I just received a subpoena today from the Federal Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina to give a deposition testimony as a witness in a federal civil lawsuit at an attorney's office in Raleigh, NC. The subpoena says that I'm supposed to appear on October 3rd 2017 AT THE ATTORNEY'S OFFICE NOT IN COURT. (Not sure if that makes any difference) The problem is that I have been living in Thailand for the past 3 years so obviously I'm not going to be appearing. I'm a United States citizen and I'm retired United States Military and my wife and I are retired here in Thailand. Even if I could afford to fly back to the States right now and even if I wanted to it's not enough notice. They also enclosed a check for $40 dollars with the subpoena called "witness fees". I have not lived in North Carolina for 3 years I'm living in Thailand and $40 dollars is a joke. Regardless I have no intention of flying back to North Carolina ever again in my life time. I'm not even from North Carolina I'm from Arizona the only reason why I even lived in North Carolina in the first place 3 years ago is because I was assigned to Fort Bragg, NC for my last assignment before retirement. Additionally technically this subpoena was never legally served on me. They sent it to my old address in North Carolina and like I said I don't live there anymore, however I still have my mail being forwarded from my last address in the United States in NC to my new address here in Thailand. So the subpoena did arrive in the mail today via Certified Mail, HOWEVER I WAS NOT ASKED TO SIGN FOR IT. I DID NOT SIGN FOR IT! The Thai Post Office just dropped the subpoena in my mail box as if it was just regular mail. Additionally when I look up the Certified Mail tracking number it still say "in transit to destination". So like I said technically the subpoena was never officially served on me because I have been living here in Thailand for the past 3 years, and I was not asked to sign for it. DOES THAT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE? Since legally there is no proof that I ever even received the subpoena because it was never officially served on me because I live in Thailand am I still legally even under subpoena? Again this is NOT a criminal matter, they want me to give a deposition testimony at an attorney's office in Raleigh, NC as a WITNESS in a civil lawsuit. I'm not going back to North Carolina ever again in my life time even if they paid for the whole trip, and again I'm currently living in Thailand. I'm also a 100% disabled veteran I'm not healthy and I can't go through this right now regardless, and I'm just not doing it. I asked some other questions above but can you also please tell me what kind of a situation does this put me in? What should I do? What actions should I take? Do I even need to do anything at all since legally the subpoena was never officially even served on me?
JA: What state is this in? And can you tell me a little more about the charge?
Customer: There is no charge. Can you please read the message I sent.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: As it say in the message I've been living in Thailand For the past 3 years.
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/24/2017
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5,911
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only. Additionally, most people believe a phone call is the easiest and most efficient way to handle problems. Accordingly, you will receive an automatic phone call request. If you would like a phone call, please click “Accept” when prompted.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I just received a subpoena today from the Federal Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina to give a deposition testimony as a witness in a federal civil lawsuit at an attorney's office in Raleigh, NC. The subpoena says that I'm supposed to appear on October 3rd 2017 AT THE ATTORNEY'S OFFICE NOT IN COURT. (Not sure if that makes any difference)The problem is that I have been living in Thailand for the past 3 years so obviously I'm not going to be appearing. I'm a United States citizen and I'm retired United States Military and my wife and I are retired here in Thailand.Even if I could afford to fly back to the States right now and even if I wanted to it's not enough notice. They also enclosed a check for $40 dollars with the subpoena called "witness fees". I have not lived in North Carolina for 3 years I'm living in Thailand and $40 dollars is a joke. Regardless I have no intention of flying back to North Carolina ever again in my life time. I'm not even from North Carolina I'm from Arizona the only reason why I even lived in North Carolina in the first place 3 years ago is because I was assigned to Fort Bragg, NC for my last assignment before retirement.Additionally technically this subpoena was never legally served on me. They sent it to my old address in North Carolina and like I said I don't live there anymore, however I still have my mail being forwarded from my last address in the United States in NC to my new address here in Thailand.So the subpoena did arrive in the mail today via Certified Mail, HOWEVER I WAS NOT ASKED TO SIGN FOR IT. I DID NOT SIGN FOR IT! The Thai Post Office just dropped the subpoena in my mail box as if it was just regular mail. Additionally when I look up the Certified Mail tracking number it still say "in transit to destination".So like I said technically the subpoena was never officially served on me because I have been living here in Thailand for the past 3 years, and I was not asked to sign for it. DOES THAT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE? Since legally there is no proof that I ever even received the subpoena because it was never officially served on me because I live in Thailand am I still legally even under subpoena?Again this is NOT a criminal matter, they want me to give a deposition testimony at an attorney's office in Raleigh, NC as a WITNESS in a civil lawsuit. I'm not going back to North Carolina ever again in my life time even if they paid for the whole trip, and again I'm currently living in Thailand. I'm also a 100% disabled veteran I'm not healthy and I can't go through this right now regardless, and I'm just not doing it. I asked some other questions above but can you also please tell me what kind of a situation does this put me in? What should I do? What actions should I take? Do I even need to do anything at all since legally the subpoena was never officially even served on me?

Thank you very much for your patience. Generally, if a subpoena is served on you, then you are required by U.S. law to appear at the time and place to give the appropriate deposition. Depositions are often not held at court, but often at a conference or meeting room such as a lawyer’s office. Accordingly, even if you live abroad and don’t live in the state where the subpoena was issued, if you received the subpoena, you will be required to show up. A party that is experiencing a hardship with complying with a subpoena may submit a Motion to Quash the subpoena. Reasons for quashing a subpoena can range from extreme inconvenience to not even being the party they intended to subpoena. A party may also list health reasons or travel issues as well. If a party is going to serve a motion to quash, then they will need to have that motion filed with thee courts. In your case, if you have no intention of returning to the U.S., if you have a disability that prevents you from doing so, and if you do not want to do it, then you must submit a motion to the court and request that they quash the subpoena altogether. Otherwise, you may end up risking being fined or ordered to jail by the judge.

Also, although I provided an initial answer, it’s important that you are 100% satisfied. If you feel I have done so, please rate me 5 stars and let me know if you have any follow up questions. As a side note, you can also click here in the future to request me individually.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Is contemp of court a felony?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Hello are you there?

It's a misdemeanor. Basically, in NC, you could receive up to a $500 fine or up to 30 days in jail.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
What class Misdemeanor is it?

Let me clarify. There is civil contempt and criminal contempt. Criminal contempt is sought to punish someone for not complying with a court order . Civil contempt may just be a demand by the judge that requires you to show up to the subpoena. In NC specifically, from what I can see, they do not specifically say that it is a misdemeanor or felony for criminal contempt, but the general rule is that anything that is less than one year in jail is going to be considered a felony. It would require a bit more extensive research to find out whether they classify it as a specific level of misdemeanor.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
there is no proof that I received the subpoena
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I checked the tracking number and it still says in transit. I never signed for it because of the mail system here in Thailand.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Are you there?

Yes, one moment...

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
My mail is forwarded.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I have all my mail forwarded

I see. You could take the risk and ignore the subpoena. However, if it can be proved that mail was sent to you, a judge may punish you as a result.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
According to the USPS Website it has not been delivered.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Are you there? Hello

Understood. I think you could try to avoid it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless you're confident they won't find you.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
What if I called the attorney who issued the subpoena and explained to them that I'm living abroad and I can't be there? They don't know because they sent it to my old address. It also says something about being more than 100 miles away.

You could certainly do that. In the worst case scenario, the attorney may just request that you give your testimony over the phone so you don't have to fly back. you could explain that it was an old address and that you do not and will not return to the states without a court order to do so.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
They're required to pay for my travel they sent me a check for $40 dollars for expenses because they were assuming that I still live in NC.

I think that is something that you should bring up if you speak with the attorney back in the states. You could explain $40 will not cover you return if they expect you back. They may request the courts provide you with adequate compensation for your testimony.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It's not that I don't want to give a deposition I just am not going back there.

I see what you mean. It may be possible to do a video deposition over the internet as well if that is possible if you cannot come. But just understand that if the court denies your request to do this, then you may be risking a contempt charge against you.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
You said anything LESS than a year in jail is considered a felony? How is that?

I'm sorry. I mistyped. Anything less than a year is generally a misdemeanor and served in county jail. Anything over a year is usually a felony and will be served in a state prison.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
where would a contemp charge fall in that category?

A contempt charge would fall in the category of misdemeanor because it is only up to 30 days in jail.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Are you sure about that?

NC does not specifically call this a misdemeanor; this is just the basic common law understanding of what is a misdemeanor and what is a felony. I would have to do much more extensive research to find out with certainty how the courts in that state record it on someone's criminal record, assuming they are held in contempt criminally. Regardless, if you click here, you can see what the NC legislature says specifically about criminal and civil contempt of court if you don't comply with a court order.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It is a federal civil lawsuit.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
It's a federal civil lawsuit does that give you a better idea?

My apologies. I had forgotten that it was a federal issue. Under federal law, the same rules will apply. The court will issue either civil or criminal contempt sanctions if you don't comply with the subpoena. Rule 42 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow the court to initiate contempt charges.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Would it still fall under the Misdemeanor category even though it's federal?

Unfortunately, the rules do not say whether it is a felony or misdemeanor at all. However, my recommendation would be to weigh the risks of ignoring the subpoena with trying to find a way to show up for a deposition, even if it is over video or phone.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Is it still less 30 days in jail?

unlike nc law, the federal rules do not specifically outline a jail sentence, but up to 30 days is generally standard.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
This document was attached can you read it and then tell me what I should do if anything?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Refer to C 1 a

Sure thing. My recommendation would be to explain that not only does the place of compliance not fit with where you live now, but that it is on the party requesting the subpoena to not place undue burden and expense on you as well under (d)(1).

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I will by that rule does that mean that they can't force me to go?

Not necessarily. That just means that you may have your costs covered or find a way for you to go through the deposition. If you file the motion to quash, then you could cite those provisions and let the judge make the decision.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Can you please repeat that? I got an email saying that you replied but I can't see it.

Yes. Not necessarily. That just means that you may have your costs covered or find a way for you to go through the deposition. If you file the motion to quash, then you could cite those provisions and let the judge make the decision.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Well it's a law firm covering the costs and I'm not a very important witness would the cost really be worth the reward?

Possibly not, but if they submitted a subpoena, then they must think that you are worth the cost.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
which they apparently think is $40 dollars remember?

Perhaps. Nonetheless, I think if you take my recommendations, you can find yourself not having to leave the country and also stay out of jail at the same time.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I think I'm going to and email or call them and take care of it. Even though there is absolutely no evidence that I received the subpoena could they still get me for contempt? Would you recommend emailing them the proof my address?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Additionally I just got the subpoena today and they want me to appear on October 3rd.

I think that may be all the more reason to contact them right away.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I think I'm going to and email or call them and take care of it. Even though there is absolutely no evidence that I received the subpoena could they still get me for contempt? Would you recommend emailing them the proof my address?

I wouldn't rely on your presumption that there is no evidence. They can presume that you received it. My recommendation would be to contact the attorney and get this handled informally.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Would you recommend me emailing them my Proof of address?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Obviously I'll call them as well but do you think it would be a bad idea to email them my information?

no, i don't think it's a bad idea to email.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thanks that was helpful.

The pleasure is all mine! Further up on the you should see a chance to give me a rating. 5-stars are always appreciated, but it is definitely not required! You can also click here in the future to request me individually. Don’t forget, if you haven’t already, you can always sign up for a membership with Just Answer and start asking more questions on the cheap.

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