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 Resources for Subpoena

Recent Rulings on Subpoena

AMANDA ALVIRA VS CHRISTA CRAFTON

Crafton On the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion for Order to Enforce Subpoena Duces Tecum for Records Regarding Plaintiff Amanda Alvira From Healthpointe Medical Group, Inc; Request for Costs and Fees Against the Non-Responsive Facility, Filed by the Defendant scheduled for 01/20/2021 is continued to 01/29/2021 at 01:30 PM in Department 29 at Spring Street Courthouse. Moving Party is ordered to give notice.

  • Hearing

    Jan 20, 2021

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

LARRY CURLEE V. JOHN E. ODUM

Plaintiff served on Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) a civil subpoena duces tecum for personal appearance and production of documents, electronically stored information, and things (the Subpoena). Plaintiff requested that the deponent provide the requested documents to him by October 1, 2020, in lieu of appearing for a deposition.

  • Hearing

    Jan 20, 2021

MARK ANTHONY RAMOS ET AL VS ANZO NOBEL COATINGS INC ET AL

Plaintiffs move to reduce PPG’s costs bill from $8,352.73 to $6,801.09, targeting the following items: $513.75 in filing and motion fees for a duplicative charge for PPG’s only motion for summary judgment (Motion at p. 4); $330.00 for a “filing fee” for a deposition subpoena issued against one Odis Freeman in Las Vegas, Nevada; $170.89 for the service of process upon Odis Freeman, who was not deposed (Motion at p. 5); $495.00 for a court reporter fee at the hearing for PPG’s motion for summary judgment (

  • Hearing

    Jan 19, 2021

SMITH VS. AMERICOR FUNDING, INC.

Ruling Motion 4) Defendant/Cross-Complainant’s Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena of Third-Party Ron Kort is GRANTED. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1987.1.) Defendant/Cross-Complainant Americor Funding, Inc. moves to quash the deposition subpoena served on non-party Ron Kort, the legal assistant for Defendant’s counsel. For the following reasons, Defendant’s motion is granted.

  • Hearing

    Jan 19, 2021

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES VS LOS ANGELES COUNTY EMPLOYEE RELATIO

ERCOM has investigative authority, including the power to subpoena documents and compel testimony. See LACC §5.04.160(G), (H). California courts require ERCOM to exercise its authority in a manner “consistent with and pursuant to” the policies of the MMBA as interpreted and administered by the Public Employment Relations Board (“PERB”)—the state administrative agency charged with interpreting and administering the MMBA in other parts of California. Gov. Code § 3509(d); Cnty. of Los Angeles v.

  • Hearing

    Jan 19, 2021

  • Type

    Administrative

  • Sub Type

    Writ

SMITH VS. AMERICOR FUNDING, INC.

Ruling Motion 4) Defendant/Cross-Complainant’s Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena of Third-Party Ron Kort is GRANTED. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1987.1.) Defendant/Cross-Complainant Americor Funding, Inc. moves to quash the deposition subpoena served on non-party Ron Kort, the legal assistant for Defendant’s counsel. For the following reasons, Defendant’s motion is granted.

  • Hearing

    Jan 19, 2021

JANE DOE VS TRANSDEV SERVICES, INC., ET AL.

The Motion is brought on the grounds that when Transdev subpoenaed the police file relevant to this action, the Sheriff’s Department did not comply with the subpoena, and advised that a subpoena signed by a judge was required to obtain a copy of the police file. Due to the lack of opposition, the Court GRANTS the Motion. (Sexton v. Superior Court (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 1403, 1410.) Moving parties are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Other Employment

WORLD LAB U.S.A., INC. V. YAMAKAWA

In the absence of personal service of the motion to compel on the nonparty deponent, the court cannot issue an effective order granting the motion to compel the nonparty to appear for deposition in compliance with a subpoena. Here, the only declaration of personal service filed by Plaintiff is by a person in counsel’s office, to the effect that the package was given to a messenger to deliver. The declaration was insufficient. (See Proof of Service [Gass Decl.]; Weil & Brown, Cal.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

CARCHEMISH HAWKINS VS, DONTE GREER, ET AL

the motion to quash the subpoena for employment records from Amazon.com Services LLC, and $810 for bringing the motion to quash the subpoena for body cam footage from the Marin County Sheriff‘s Department.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

IGOR BRYANTSEV VS ADAM CAMACHO

Proc. § 1992 for disobeying the subpoena. Moving party is ordered to give notice.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

LISA GOODRICH VS GUILLERMO EDUARDO PADILLA JR ET AL

Relief is sought under CCP section 2025.480(a), which provides: “(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

    Jan 15, 2021

EDWIN MINASSIAN VS MICHAEL PANOSIAN, ET AL

Because CCP § 1987.1 allows the Court to “make any other order as may be appropriate to protect the person from unreasonable or oppressive demands,” defendants may seek to quash the subpoena based on undue burden and lack of relevance. With respect to Linda Moossaian, Edwin Moossaian, Zareh Khacahtourian, and Martin Galstyan, plaintiff does not dispute that these individuals are high-ranking corporate officials at Toughbuilt.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ALFRED L. CARR VS LESLIE ANNE CALDWELL

RULING: Defendant’s Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records is MOOT in light of the indication in the opposition that the subject subpoena has since been withdrawn. Or Defendant’s Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records is GRANTED at the concession in the opposition that plaintiff intends that the subpoena be withdrawn.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

IGOR BRYANTSEV VS ADAM CAMACHO

Proc. § 1992 for disobeying the subpoena. Moving party is ordered to give notice.

  • Hearing

    Jan 15, 2021

FROMME VS. VU

HEARING ON MOTION TO/FOR COMPEL FOR COMPLIANCE W/ DEPO SUBPOENA FILED BY TONY VU, FFL ENTERPRISE, INC. * TENTATIVE RULING: * Hearing required. Pursuant to the Court’s previous order, plaintiffs’ counsel has provided a declaration properly establishing that it made timely objections to the subpoenas, and requested that defense counsel meet and confer on the issues raised. After the Court’s previous order, the parties met and conferred on the issues (by email).

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

HERNANDEZ V. THE ANAHEIM GROUP, INC.

The motion of intervenor Joshua Esquer to quash the plaintiff’s deposition subpoena for production of business records from Bank of America is GRANTED. Esquer has made a prima facie showing that the records are personal financial records and he has an expectation of privacy in them. Moreover, the plaintiff’s own declaration states she seeks the court’s help in ordering the bank “to turn over all of his personal bank account records.”

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

MARIA CONCEPCION ROSALES IRASAVA VS PHARMAVITE LLC ET AL

Plaintiff now moves for an order quashing or modifying Defendant Calderon’s (hereinafter “Defendant”) subpoena issued to Kaiser Foundation Hospital.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

SPLENDID MEDIEN A G VS DAVID GLASSER

The LLC Agreement was produced in this litigation pursuant to a Subpoena issued by counsel for Splendid, and Glasser was provided with the document simultaneously with counsel for Splendid. (Id.) This is substantial evidence of his membership interest. Further, the Court finds that the amended proposed order declaration addresses the issues raised by Defendant. However, the Court will delete the extraneous “costs” language in paragraph 2.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

HIPOLITO PAUL CARRANZA VS SPEARS MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC.

; (3) the Subpoena seeks information irrelevant to the current litigation; and (4) the Subpoena is overbroad and therefore should be quashed.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

EMAN MAGID IBRAHIM VS ROSALVA GUZMAN GARCIA

DISCUSSION On August 19, 2020, Moving Party issued a deposition subpoena on non-party Infinity Insurance to produce documents related to the property damage including estimates for Moving Party’s vehicle on September 21, 2020. (Pilikyan Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. 1.) Moving Party personally served the deposition subpoena on August 25, 2020. (Pilikyan Decl., ¶ 5, Exh. 2.)

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

B&D FARMS, INC. V. GINGER L. MANKINS, ET AL.

In support, Mark asks the Court to take judicial notice of the following documents: (1) McKinsey’s Notice of Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records to Lapp, Fatch, Myers, & Gallagher, Accountants & Request for Sanctions; (2) Declaration of Deidra Austin Zolezzi in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion to Quash; and (3) Declaration of Mark Mankins in Support of Motion to Quash.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

ALEXANDRA FACTOR VS DV FINANCIAL GROUP, A CORPORATION, ET AL.

., the court can award attorney fees and costs against the party and their counsel, for pursuing a wrongful subpoena. The court denies the request. Plaintiff did not oppose the motion in bad faith nor are any of the requirements of the subpoena oppressive.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

HTTP://WWW.SCSCOURT.ORG

Plaintiff further claims that the attempt to subpoena records exceeds the medical conditions at issue and the physician-patient privilege pursuant to Evidence Code, § 990. In City & County of San Francisco v. Superior Court (1951) 37 Cal. 2d 227, 231, the Court held that when a plaintiff files an action for personal injuries, he or she places his or her physical condition at issue and waives the physician-patient privilege.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

MARIELA HESSION, ET AL. VS DIANA ECHEVERRY, M.D., ET AL.

Defendant argue Cantera should be required to post an undertaking for $62,116.30 in costs, consisting of: $1,430 for court fees (first paper fees and filing fees) $686.30 (Plaintiff’s deposition) 3 defense experts with $15,000 retainers each totaling at least $45,000 Record subpoena fees of $2,000 7 more depositions of $500 each Depositions of Plaintiff’s experts ($2, 000 per expert) Jury trial expenses $7,500 Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5 identifies items allowable and not allowed as costs.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Medical Malpractice

YONG HWAN KIM ET AL VS CHRISTINE Y KIM ET AL

Second, Plaintiffs served a deposition subpoena on third party witness Sunny Oh (“Ms. Oh”) on October 29, 2020 but have not and will not be able to depose Ms. Oh before the January 19, 2021 discovery cut-off due to Ms. Oh being out of the country from November 2020 to January 2021. Third, Plaintiffs and joining parties opine that they intend to conduct additional discovery, although such discovery is undisclosed.

  • Hearing

    Jan 14, 2021

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