Title: Summons and Complaints, Subpoenas and Other Legal Documents
Policy Number: A126.96.36.199
Responsible Department: University Risk Management
Magsino, Chique Lingao
Risk Management Associate
Effective Date: 2008-07-10
Next Review Date: 2014-06-30
Approval Date: 2011-07-26 08:19:13.0
It is the policy of Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) to provide specific guidelines for personnel (Administrators, Faculty and Staff) to follow when presented with any documents concerning legal actions in which the University or its employees are involved.
To facilitate prompt and appropriate institutional response to served legal documents. It ensures that all legal requirements are met and that University General Counsel, Risk Management, and appropriate University administrators are notified in a timely manner in order to protect the University’s interest.
From time to time, University personnel receive official legal documents. Examples include subpoenas requiring the University to produce copies or records in court proceedings, and summons and complaints notifying the University that a lawsuit has been commenced against it. If such documents are received, personnel should contact General Counsel as soon as possible due to deadlines associated with these documents that have legal consequences. Any legal document should be reviewed by General Counsel before any response is made.
If General Counsel is not available HAND-DELIVER the documents to Risk Management. Documents should be placed in safe keeping until properly viewed.
Legal notices are sometimes addressed to the University itself or to individually named officials of the University. It is important for all University personnel to be aware of the appropriate course of action to take if approached by a “process server” with official legal documents or if personnel receive such documents by mail. Departments most likely to receive legal notices are the Business Office, Human Resources and Student Affairs. By following the protocol, provided in this policy, personnel will facilitate prompt review of such documents by General Counsel, who will assist in determining the validity of the document and the appropriate response on behalf of the University.
Personnel should not communicate the details regarding any response to such legal notices to anyone without a legitimate need to know in accordance with this University policy. Inappropriate disclosure of certain official legal documents or contacts to individuals without a legitimate need to know may result in disciplinary action.
Upon receipt of any legal notice personnel must:
All summons and complaints, subpoenas, and other legal documents involving the University must be HAND-DELIVERED to General Counsel the same day they are received or soon thereafter as practicable. Due to the sensitivity and confidentiality of such document DO NOT INTER-OFFICE MAIL.
General Counsel will review the documents and the appropriate response on behalf of the University; Risk Management and appropriate University administrators will be notified. Once an appropriate response has been determined, General Counsel will coordinate with the appropriate individuals or departments to prepare an inventory of any records requested in the legal document. General Counsel and Risk Management will keep a record of the legal document and any records produced.
When the University is Named in a Summons and Complaint
When Both the University and an Employee is Named in a Summons and Complaint
IMPORTANT – If the named individual is not available DO NOT ACCEPT SERVICE! Only the named individual can accept service. Never give the Process Server any personal information about another employee, such as an employee’s home address or telephone number.
When Faculty or Staff Employees Alone are Named in A Summons and Complaint
IMPORTANT – If the named individual is not available DO NOT ACCEPT SERVICE! Only that individual can accept service. Never give the Process Server any personal information about another employee, such as an employee’s home address or telephone number.
Subpoenas For University Records
TIME PERIOD AWARENESS
The University must respond to subpoenas, summons and court orders within a specified time period after the court documents are received. It is imperative that personnel notify the Office of General Counsel as soon as he/she is served, so that the matter can be reviewed and responded to in a timely manner. The documents will be reviewed to determine the University’s rights and responsibilities for compliance.
Custodian of Records - The person in charge of a department's records. When a subpoena has been served, this person must sign an affidavit concerning the authenticity of the records.
Personnel - Administrators, Faculty and Staff
Process Server - A law enforcement official, such as an FBI agent or deputy sheriff who delivers legal notices to an individual or organization to provide official notice of a legal action or proceeding.
Subpoena - A court order compelling a person or representative of an organization to testify or to produce records (or both) at a certain date, time, and place.
Summons and Complaint - Legal documents that initiate a lawsuit.
University Records - Include but not limited to: minutes, correspondence; memoranda; financial records, such as invoices, journals, ledgers, purchase orders; published materials, including reports and newsletters; moving images and photographs; and computer data or other machine readable electronic records, including electronic mail.