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Deposition Subpoena

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What Is a Deposition Subpoena?

A deposition subpoena requires a non-party to testify and/or produce documents during the informal pre-trial discovery phase of the lawsuit. A deposition will take place outside the courtroom, usually in an attorney's office.  In contrast, a subpoena to testify or subpoena duces tecum (to produce documents) requires a non-party to testify and/or produce documents in a formal court hearing.

If I Have Received a Deposition Subpoena, Do I Have to Go?

A deposition subpoena must be accompanied by a Notice of Deposition to be valid. The Notice of Deposition will state the time and date of the deposition. The deponent must also be given advance notice of the deposition date. The amount of advanced notice required will vary from state to state, but many require anywhere from 5-14 days.

If you have received a valid deposition subpoena, then you must attend the scheduled deposition and bring any requested documents. If you fail to do so, you may receive a court order to appear to testify. 

What Documents Do I Bring?

The subpoena should specifically and accurately describe the documents or other objects that you are to bring. If you are concerned that the documents requested are irrelevant, confidential, contain trade secrets, or otherwise privileged, consult an attorney.

Do I Have to Answer All the Questions?

You have to answer all the questions, and you must answer truthfully, as you will be giving your deposition under oath. Your answers will be recorded by the court reporter, who will later provide you with a copy of your testimony.

Will I Be Reimbursed for My Costs of Appearing at the Deposition?

You may be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses and loss of pay incurred in attending the deposition.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you have received a deposition subpoena, contact an attorney to prepare you for the deposition and to appear at the deposition with you. An experienced personal injury attorney will defend your rights and ensure that you do not provide any answers that might expose you to liability in the lawsuit. If you wait to retain a lawyer and then fail to answer questions during the deposition because you suddenly realize you need attorney representation, you can be held in contempt of court.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 04-18-2018 07:24 PM PDT

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