Legal Question in Technology Law in California

Subpoena for my own cell phone records??

I would like to receive an actual detailed cell phone bill of my text messages from my cell phone company, but they said I need a court subpoena to obtain that information. Will I have to go to court for this??What will it cost me??

Asked on 2/07/09, 6:20 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: Subpoena for my own cell phone records??

Subpoenas are court orders, and as far as I know can only be issued when there is litigation (or an arbitration proceeding) pending, or certain types of official investigation are under way.

An ordinary citizen cannot obtain and serve a subpoena without application to a judge (or in some courts, the clerk) and I do not know of any law authorizing use of a subpoena in this way outside of the prosecution of a duly filed and served lawsuit (or arbitration).

Even then, the process for obtaining material from a party to the suit is by discovery procedures, not subpoena. Subpoenas are used to gather case-essential facts from nonparties.

Attorneys are considered officers of the court for subpoena purposes, and can write them up and serve them without resorting to a judge or court clerk.

I think the subpoena is the wrong approach here.

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2/07/09, 7:07 pm
Richard Koman Law Offices of Richard C Koman
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Re: Subpoena for my own cell phone records??

You don't say why you want the records. But in order to subpoena records you need to bring an action of some kind, then you can subpoena records as part of the discovery in the action. You can do this as a self-represented litigant and it wont cost you more than the filing fee for the lawsuit.

But you need to have a legitimate reason to file the suit, it can't be a sham suit just to get the records.

In any case there are many important rules about how this is done and it's most likely advantageous to hire a lawyer to represent your interests (assuming you have a reasonable expectation of recovery).

Feel free to contact me.

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2/07/09, 7:48 pm

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