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

Rulings on Subpoena

1-25 of 9234 results

CHANG, MING LIANG VS RAO, GANG

An attorney at law who is the attorney of record in an action or proceeding, may sign and issue a subpoena duces tecum to require production of the matters or things described in the subpoena.” Upon review of Plaintiff’s subpoena, it does not appear that a judge or clerk has put his or her signature on the document, and the subpoena is without a seal. Also, it appears that Plaintiff, the person who issued the subpoena, is not an attorney at law.

  • Hearing

    Nov 07, 2017

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

  • Judge

    Elaine Lu or Yolanda Orozco

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

BRAUN VS. MOSER

SLICO (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 352, 95 Cal.Rptr.3d 900 [analyzing the different requirements for a trial subpoena and a deposition subpoena].) Further, in the context of postjudgment enforcement proceedings, "the use of a subpoena duces tecum to discover and inspect relevant documents is an accepted practice."

  • Hearing

    Apr 18, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

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

UNAVA LLC VS WORLD ORGANICS, LLC. ET AL

The proof of service for the subpoena shows that it was served by mail on February 14, 2017 and that the date of production was March 1, 2017. Since the subpoena was served after February 4, 2017, it was served after the discovery cutoff. Since there is no order issued under CCP section 2024.050 that reopened discovery for the purpose of the subpoena for Wells Fargo Bank’s records, the subpoena should have been quashed.

  • Hearing

    Mar 10, 2017

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ACRO DEVELOPMENT INC., ET AL VS. DANIELLE RUTH BAEZ, ET AL

Further, under CCP section 1985(b), a subpoena must be accompanied by a copy of an affidavit shall be served with a subpoena duces tecum issued before trial, showing good cause for the production of the matters and things described in the subpoena. The Plaintiffs’ subpoena does not include any affidavit showing good cause for the production of the employment records. As a result, the Plaintiffs have offered no grounds to find that the subpoena should not be quashed.

  • Hearing

    Mar 17, 2017

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

HOVSEPIAN, NADIA, ET AL VS. THE HERTZ CORPORATION, ET AL

However, plaintiffs admit that the second subpoena “differed from the document requests in the original subpoena.” Plaintiffs provide no authority to require the court to find that service of a second subpoena to the same entity moots service of a previous, different subpoena. Finally, plaintiffs argue that compliance should not be ordered in light of their objections.

  • Hearing

    May 29, 2018

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Contract - Other

THAN VS. RETA

Here, Defendant issued the Subpoena on August 6, 2019, seeking production from Kaiser on September 4, 2019 of any and all records related to the medical care of Plaintiff. Upon receipt of an objection from Plaintiff as to the scope of the Subpoena on August 13, 2019, Defendant agreed to limit the scope of the subpoena to injuries involving Plaintiff’s neck and back. Defendant issued an amended subpoena to Kaiser, limiting the scope of the subpoena as agreed.

  • Hearing

    Nov 14, 2019

MORALES VS WELL-PICT

Specifically: The original subpoena served by Plaintiff on the SCIF ("First Subpoena") was also the subject of a motion to quash. The Court granted the motion to quash the First Subpoena as to request no. 1 therein. The Second Subpoena is Plaintiff's attempt to redraft request no. 1 in the First Subpoena to cure the issues noted by the Court in granting the motion to quash as to this request. Request no. 1 in the original subpoena sought production of: "1.

  • Hearing

    Nov 22, 2016

MORALES VS WELL-PICT

Specifically: The original subpoena served by Plaintiff on the SCIF ("First Subpoena") was also the subject of a motion to quash. The Court granted the motion to quash the First Subpoena as to request no. 1 therein. The Second Subpoena is Plaintiff's attempt to redraft request no. 1 in the First Subpoena to cure the issues noted by the Court in granting the motion to quash as to this request. Request no. 1 in the original subpoena sought production of: "1.

  • Hearing

    Nov 22, 2016

IMPACT PAPER & INK, LTD VS. ALAN SAJADI, ET AL.

Hanson’s records (“first subpoena”), and (2) Amended Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records to Mr. Hanson (“second subpoena”). (See Jacuzzi Decl., Exh. A.) Mr. Hanson served an objection to the first subpoena. (See Mr. Hanson Decl., Exh. A.) Plaintiff seeks in this motion to compel compliance with the second subpoena. Nevertheless, because Plaintiff confusingly served two deposition subpoenas at the same time, the court construes Mr.

  • Hearing

    Feb 23, 2018

BRAUN VS. MOSER

SLICO (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 352, 95 Cal.Rptr.3d 900 [analyzing the different requirements for a trial subpoena and a deposition subpoena].) Further, in the context of postjudgment enforcement proceedings, "the use of a subpoena duces tecum to discover and inspect relevant documents is an accepted practice."

  • Hearing

    Apr 18, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

OROZCO V. HODANU

However, plaintiff then failed to notify the hospital’s custodian of records that he was withdrawing the subpoena, and she produced documents in response to the subpoena, apparently because she was unaware that it had been withdrawn. Thus, plaintiff had no right to compel compliance with the subpoena that he had already agreed to withdraw.

  • Hearing

    Dec 10, 2018

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

TITIANA CALDERONE VS JOYCE CARLSON

The party must serve the copy of the subpoena on the individual to whom the records pertain at least ten days before the date set forth in the subpoena for production of the records, and at least five days before service of the subpoena on the third party. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1985.3, subd. (b)(2)-(3).) Defendant moves to quash the subpoena citing privacy considerations. The Court denies the motion on this ground because Plaintiff has articulated a valid basis to obtain these records.

  • Hearing

    Feb 04, 2019

GLEN EUGENE SPRADLIN JR ET AL VS LESTER EDWARD SMITH

A custodian of records is required to produce records requested by subpoena “only to the deposition officer specified in the subpoena.” CCP section 2020.430(a). Defendant requests an order excluding use of the improperly obtained medical records. The motion is MOOT as the records have already been produced. There is no subpoena pending to quash.

  • Hearing

    Jan 23, 2017

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Auto

RIC1615033

With regard to sanctions, Defendant’s original subpoena was significantly overbroad. However, she allegedly withdrew this subpoena and served an amended subpoena that was limited in scope. If this is true, Defendant did not misuse discovery. If Defendant can establish that counsel withdrew the subpoena or made a reasonable effort to withdraw the subpoena, she acted with substantial justification and sanctions should be denied.

  • Hearing

    Jun 29, 2017

GOMEZ V PLA-ART INTERNATIONAL INC

CCP section 1985.3(b) provides, in part: Prior to the date called for in the subpoena duces tecum for the production of personal records, 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, of the affidavit supporting the issuance of the subpoena... (Code Civ. Proc., § 1985.3(b).) Plaintiff asserts that no notice to consumer was required because the subpoena excludes all personal information relating to Frank E.

  • Hearing

    Oct 03, 2019

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

GOMEZ V PLA-ART INTERNATIONAL INC

CCP section 1985.3(b) provides, in part: Prior to the date called for in the subpoena duces tecum for the production of personal records, 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, of the affidavit supporting the issuance of the subpoena... (Code Civ. Proc., § 1985.3(b).) Plaintiff asserts that no notice to consumer was required because the subpoena excludes all personal information relating to Frank E.

  • Hearing

    Oct 03, 2019

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

MICHAEL PHILLIPS VS METRO

The proof of service of the subpoena, however, shows that a person named Margie Mills was served with the subpoena. §2020.220 does not permit service of a deposition subpoena on a natural person via substitute service. The motion to compel is therefore denied. The denial is without prejudice to Defendant’s right to re-serve the subpoena properly and to move to compel compliance if Skinner continues to fail to comply.

  • Hearing

    Jul 13, 2017

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Auto

LOCK & LOCK CO., LTD. VS. LOCK & LOCK USA DISTRIBUTOR, INC.

Motion to Quash Subpoena Defendant/cross-complainant Jinyoung Park seeks an order quashing the business records subpoena served on Hanmi Bank, a protective order, and monetary sanctions of $3,010 against plaintiffs Lock & Lock Co., Ltd. and Weihai Hanacobi Houseware Co., Ltd. ANALYSIS: A copy of the subpoena and related notice to consumer is attached as exhibit A to the motion and properly authenticated by Park’s counsel. (Perry Decl. at ¶ 1, Motion at Exh. A.)

  • Hearing

    Nov 16, 2017

RUEDAS VS. REYES

Accordingly, the subpoena is overbroad and the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoena to Century. The parties’ mutual request for sanctions is DENIED. Plaintiff to give notice.

  • Hearing

    Dec 13, 2018

MICHAEL JOHNSON VS R&R AUCTION COMPANY LLC

Although the deposition subpoena was issued in the name of “The People of the State of California” and “order[s]” Mr. Burris to produce the business records described in item 3 of the subpoena (Ibid.), this court has no authority to enforce the subpoena as it was issued to a nonparty witness residing in another state. Code Civ. Proc. §2026.010, subd. (c). The deposition subpoena is therefore void. The deposition subpoena must be issued under the laws of the state of Montana. Ibid.

  • Hearing

    Mar 27, 2015

  • Judge Donna Geck
  • County

    Santa Barbara County, CA

NADER & SONS, ET.AL. VS. HOMAYOUN NAMVAR

Moreover, as indicated on the civil subpoena form, “disobedience of this subpoena may be punished as contempt by this court.” See Decl. of J. Lichter, Ex. A; see also CCP §2020.240 (deposition subpoena is a court order enforceable by a contempt proceeding). B&PC §17530.5 therefore does not justify quashing the subpoena. The tax return privilege also fails to justify quashing the subpoena. As discussed in its 7/6/16 order, the Court has already found that the tax returns must be produced based on Li v.

  • Hearing

    Apr 26, 2017

KOROUSH SOBHANI VS OSE MANUEL FERNANDEZ JR ET AL

Defendant Fernandez served a subpoena upon Plaintiff’s prior attorney, the Law Offices of Arash Khorsandi. Now, Plaintiff moves to quash that subpoena, which Defendant Fernandez does not oppose. The motion is unopposed.

  • Hearing

    Oct 09, 2019

MORALES VS WELL-PICT

Specifically: The original subpoena served by Plaintiff on the SCIF ("First Subpoena") was also the subject of a motion to quash. The Court granted the motion to quash the First Subpoena as to request no. 1 therein. The Second Subpoena is Plaintiff's attempt to redraft request no. 1 in the First Subpoena to cure the issues noted by the Court in granting the motion to quash as to this request. Request no. 1 in the original subpoena sought production of: "1.

  • Hearing

    Nov 22, 2016

DOE VS GIRLSDOPORNCOM

., and MERRO MEDIA HOLDINGS, LLC ("Defendants") for an order quashing the subpoena for production of business records served on third party Beach Terrace Inn, Carlsbad Beach Hotel Properties by Plaintiffs JANE DOE NOS. 1 – 14 ("Plaintiffs"), and for monetary sanctions, is DENIED. The subpoena seeks records which are relevant or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and are not privileged.

  • Hearing

    Jun 13, 2018

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

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