What is a Subpoena?

In civil litigation, subpoenas are often used to compel discovery from nonparties to a suit such as individuals or corporations. In a California proceeding, a deposition subpoena is the only method by which to obtain discovery from a non-party in civil litigation. “A deposition subpoena must be served to compel that witness’s attendance, testimony, or production of documents and things pursuant to Chapter 6, ‘Nonparty Discovery,’ of the CDA.” (CCP §§ 2020.010-2020.510. See, e.g., California ex rel Lockyer v. Super. Ct., 122 Cal. App. 4th 1060, 1076-78 (2004).)

The California Civil Code allows an oral deposition, written deposition, or a deposition for production of business records and other things coming within the scope of Article 4 or 5. (CCP § 2020.010.) The process by which a nonparty is required to provide discovery is a deposition subpoena. (Id.) However, subpoenas are still subject to the rules regulating discovery between parties of a suit.

Any party is entitled to discovery proceedings up until the 30th day before the date initially set for the trial of the action and a continuance of the trial date does not operate to reopen discovery proceedings. (CCP § 2024.020.)

There are four types of deposition subpoenas: a subpoena for an oral deposition, a subpoena for business records deposition commanding only the production of business records for copying, a subpoena for business records deposition commanding the productions of records and testimony, and finally, a subpoena for a written deposition. (CCP §§ 2020.310, 2025.010, 2020.410, 2020.510, 2028.010.6.)

If the subpoena is for the production of business records, discovery will be considered complete on the date of production. (CCP § 2020.010.) However, if the subpoena is seeking personal records under CCP § 1985.3 then there needs to be at least 20 days’ notice. (CCP § 1985.3; see Unzipped Apparel v. Bader, 156 Cal.App.4th 123, 127 (2007).)

The Court is authorized under CCP § 1987.1 to order a subpoena quashed entirely, modified, or directed to comply with terms and conditions the Court declares, including protective orders. (CCP § 1987.1.) Under this section the court is also authorized to make any order as may be appropriate to protect the person from unreasonable or oppressive demands, including unreasonable violations of the right of privacy of the person. (Id.)

“If a deponent fails to answer any question or to produce any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing under the deponent’s control that is specified in the deposition notice or a deposition subpoena, the party seeking discovery may move the court for an order compelling that answer or production.” (CCP § 2025.480, subd. (a).) The court can order the disobeying party to comply within 60 days after completion of the deposition record. (Id.) Objections or other responses to a business records subpoena are the "deposition record" for purposes of measuring the 60-day period for a motion to compel. (See Unzipped Apparel, 156 Cal.App.4th at 132-133.)

Useful Rulings on Subpoena

Recent Rulings on Subpoena

THE ESTATE OF ROOP GARG ET AL VS JOHN C WEI ET AL

Based on the foregoing, Moving Party’s motion to compel Yalamanchili to comply with deposition subpoena is denied as moot. Moving Party submitted evidence Gupta was personally served with a deposition subpoena for personal appearance on November 20, 2019. The deposition was to take place on December 3, 2020. (Cyr Decl., ¶ 13, Exh. G.) Gupta called Moving Party’s counsel, Mr. Cyr, on the morning of December 3, 2020, and stated she would be unable to appear for deposition because she had woken up late.

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

CHRISTINA GARCIA VS UPTOWN LOUNGE INC

Compliance with subpoenas is not optional; if a witness receiving a subpoena wishes to resist it, the witness cannot merely opt out, but must make a motion to quash or modify that subpoena.” (Puerto, supra, 158 Cal.App.4th at 1242, 1256–1257, fn. omitted.) As witnesses to a potentially criminal and tortious act, these persons would reasonably expect to be contacted by persons investigating or prosecuting a criminal or civil action arising from that incident.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Judge Donna Geck
  • County

    Santa Barbara County, CA

KIMBERLY BROWN VS, FAIRFIELD WYNDOVER LIP., ET AL

NATURE OF PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO QUASH — OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MODIFY THE DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS TO MICHAEL S, TIERNEY AND CI ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS, INC AND FOR SANCTIONS [PLTF] KIMBERLY BROWN [DEFT] FAIRFIELD PROPERTIES L.P.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

FERNANDO MORAN GONZALEZ VS JORGE OCTAVIO HERERRA ET AL

DISCUSSION Defendants issued a subpoena for Plaintiff’s medical records, specifically, all X-Rays, MRI scans, CT scans, and CAT scans administered to Plaintiff. The requested documents are personal records of Plaintiff. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 1985.3, subd. (a)(1).) Prior to serving a subpoena on a third party for the production of personal records, the party seeking the discovery must serve a copy of the subpoena on the individual to whom the records pertain. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1985.3, subd. (e.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

KENNETH MOORE VS LA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

If, as appears to be the case, service of the subpoena was by mail on February 13, 2020, the subpoena provided insufficient notice for Defendant’s compliance under either provision. In addition, in light the subpoena requests production of numerous documents, personal service on February 13, 2020 would likewise be insufficient for Defendant’s compliance by February 26, 2020 for purposes of finding Defendant in contempt.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

SCOTT ERIC ROSENSTIEL VS CANDACE HOWELL, ET AL.

On April 21, 2020, Defendant filed a motion to quash subpoena or for a protective order. The subpoena at issue is directed against Defendant. On April 21, 2020, Defendant filed a motion to quash subpoena or for a protective order. The subpoena at issue is directed against Citibank, N.A. The Court is not in receipt of an opposition brief.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

MAUS V. REDLINE CONSTRUCTION

The subpoena for financial records from U.S. Bank shall limited to only checks (front and back) payable by David Kokx & Kokx Construction and Western States Cabinets and payable by Western States Cabinets to David Kokx & Kokx Construction. All request for sanctions are DENIED. Some of the subpoenaed records are relevant. Plaintiff contends that David Kokx did not Western States Cabinets and that there were fraudulent dealings between them. This very portion of the checking account should be discoverable.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

LEANDRO SORICE VS JOHNSON & JOHNSON, LLP, A LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP, ET AL.

Plaintiff Leandro Sorice moves to compel Skane Wilcox LLP’s compliance with a deposition subpoena for the production of business records and for sanctions. TENTATIVE RULING: Plaintiff Leandro Sorice’s motion to compel Skane Wilcox LLP’s compliance with a deposition subpoena for the production of business records and for sanctions is CONTINUED to November 10, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. On August 21, 2019, this Court denied Defendants’ motion to compel arbitration.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

DANNIEL MADRID VS CANDACE HOWELL

Motion to Quash Subpoena Directed at Citibank, N.A. (Dated February 25, 2020) Defendant moves for an order quashing the subpoena issued on Citibank.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

DANIEL GARCIA VS BRUNTON ENTERPRISES INC

Pursuant to CCP §1985.3, prior to the date called for in the subpoena duces tecum for the production of documents, the subpoenaing party shall serve or cause to be served on the consumer whose records are being sought a copy of the subpoena duces tecum personally or if he is a party to his attorney of record. (CCP §1985.3(b).) Personal records include documents pertaining to a consumer (individual) and which are maintained by any “witness”, including a telephone corporation which is a public utility.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

ELLIS MCGEHEE VS CITY OF MANHATTAN BEACH, ET AL.

LEGAL AUTHORITY CCP §2025.460 states, “(a) If a deponent fails to answer any question or to produce any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing under the deponent's control that is specified in the deposition notice or a deposition subpoena, the party seeking discovery may move the court for an order compelling that answer or production.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES LLC VS. REGIONAL WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARD-SANTA ANA REGION

Records Subpoena Petitioners also ask the Court to issue a records subpoena for any internal memoranda or emails relating to either the 2018 Directive or facts supporting the 2018 Directive. Petitioners make this request in a single sentence at the end of their opening papers and do not reference it in reply. A one-sentence request without supporting argument or evidence does not satisfy Petitioners’ burden under Pomona Valley Hospital.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

SIANO VS. PUFFY DELIVERY, INC.

., the subpoena context. Furthermore, federal cases limit the statute to subpoenas. (See Chi v. University of Southern California (C.D.Cal. May 21, 2019, No. 2:18-cv-04258-SVW-GJS) 2019 WL 3315282 [statute inapplicable to motion to unseal court records containing employee’s personnel file “because Section 1985.6 applies by its terms only to the use of a subpoena duces tecum”] [quotation omitted]; McEwan v. OSP Group, L.P. (S.D.Cal.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

SCOTT ERIC ROSENSTIEL VS CANDACE HOWELL, ET AL.

On April 21, 2020, Defendant filed a motion to quash subpoena or for a protective order. The subpoena at issue is directed against Defendant. On April 21, 2020, Defendant filed a motion to quash subpoena or for a protective order. The subpoena at issue is directed against Citibank, N.A. The Court is not in receipt of an opposition brief.

  • Hearing

    Jul 10, 2020

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

SEYED SADEGHI VS GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY

Discovery Dispute (MTQ Deposition Subpoena and Protective Order).

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

BRYAN ALBRIGHT, ET AL. VS MERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC, ET AL.

19STCV12433 BRYAN ALBRIGHT vs MERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC Plaintiffs’ Motion to Quash Subpoenas RULINGS: The motions to quash the subpoena issued to Mercury Insurance is GRANTED. Code of Civil Procedure §§ 1985.3, 1985.4, 2017.010; Griffith v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., (1991) 230 Cal. App. 3d 59; Insurance Code §§791.13, 791.02. All requests for sanctions are DENIED. The moving party is directed to give notice.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

HULON VS. GESSIN

The categories of documents described in a business records subpoena were so broad that they in effect asked for everything in the custodian's possession relating to the subject of litigation. The subpoena was unduly burdensome and unenforceable. [Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Sup.Ct. (Thiem Indus., Inc.), supra, 53 CA4th at 223.]

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

IRMA RAMIREZ VS SUPER CENTER CONCEPTS, INC., ET AL.

A nonparty former employee’s attendance can be compelled only by a subpoena directed specifically to the former employee. Id. Therefore, if Plaintiff wishes to depose Cortez, Plaintiff must serve a subpoena directly to Cortez. The motion is granted in its entirety to the extent that the PMQs and unnamed employees are not Christopher Cortez and are still in Defendant’s employ.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

GRANADOS V. CITY OF GARDEN GROVE

Withdrawn Motions Motion to Quash Subpoena—Medical Records (ROA 236) The motion of the plaintiff to quash the subpoena for his medical, billing, and radiology records served on California Children’s Services, HealthBridge Children’s Hospital, and UCI Irvine Health has been WITHDRAWN. See Notice of Withdrawal filed July 6, 2020 (ROA 352).

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

DEBRA K. DUNCAN VS RICHARD GRANT, ET AL.

[TENATIVE] ORDER RE MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA; MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES As an initial matter, the parties appear to have met and conferred by email and letter, which often is not productive. Phone conversations are much more likely to produce results. In addition, generally this Court requires an informal discovery conference before hearing motions to compel further discovery and motions to quash where one of the parties objects to the subpoena.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

PAUL ROBINSON VS SURFACE MODIFICATION SYSTEMS ET AL

Plaintiff’s failure to challenge Defendant’s subpoena by filing a Motion for Protective Order or Motion to Quash, or even by sending a letter to Kaiser Permanente constitutes a waiver of Plaintiff’s right to privacy. “Any consumer whose personal records are sought by a subpoena duces tecum and who is a party to the civil action in which the subpoena duces tecum is served may, prior to the date for production, bring a motion under Section 1987.1 to quash or modify the subpoena duces tecum.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Judge

    Lori Ann Fournier or Olivia Rosales

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

MICHAEL SHUNNARAH VS TIM SCHNEIDER, ET AL.

Motion to Enforce Subpoena Defendants served a subpoena on Citibank in January 2020 seeking credit card statements. Defendants then served a second subpoena on Citibank in February 2020. On April 15, 2020, Defendants filed a motion to enforce the second subpoena. California Rules of Court, rule 3.1346 requires a nonparty to be personally served with motion papers seeking to compel the production of documents from the nonparty, unless the nonparty agrees to accept service by mail or electronic service.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

LEANDRO SORICE VS JOHNSON & JOHNSON, LLP, A LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP, ET AL.

Plaintiff Leandro Sorice moves to compel Skane Wilcox LLP’s compliance with a deposition subpoena for the production of business records and for sanctions. TENTATIVE RULING: Plaintiff Leandro Sorice’s motion to compel Skane Wilcox LLP’s compliance with a deposition subpoena for the production of business records and for sanctions is CONTINUED to November 10, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. On August 21, 2019, this Court denied Defendants’ motion to compel arbitration.

  • Hearing

    Jul 09, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

MARIO FAJARDO, ET AL. VS CLIVE REID, ET AL.

If the deponent is an organization, the subpoena shall describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested. The subpoena shall also advise the organization of its duty to make the designation of employees or agents who will attend the deposition. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2020.310, subd. (e).) On September 26, 2019, Plaintiff served a notice of deposition for Reid and Amco Food’s PMK.

  • Hearing

    Jul 08, 2020

JAMES R MELVILLE ET AL VS OLYMPUS AMERICA INC ET AL

Notably, 17989.24(k) does not require that the individual consent to such disclosure, only that attempts be made to notify the individual before disclosure pursuant to the subpoena. Thus, upon the condition that such reasonable attempts to notify the appropriate individuals be made, Civil Code § 1798.24 does not preclude this Court from ordering compliance with the subpoena.

  • Hearing

    Jul 08, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Products Liability

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