I want some information regarding the requirements for calling in a person as a witness. I am being 'pressurized' by the plaintiff in a case to appear as a witness although I have not been involved in the case and have very little knowledge whatsoever about the case. The plaintiff is "threatening" to subpoena me! Is that even legal?? The plaintiff and his lawyer are saying that I verbally agreed to testify. In fact, they have misconstrued the words that I had exchanged with them during a casual conversation. The plaintiff without my knowledge sent a document to court with my name on it as a witness. Again, is that legal?
The case involves a minor auto accident. The plaintiff only suffered some non-life threatening injuries!
I would really appreciate your help on this matter!
2 Answers from Attorneys
This message is not meant to: 1) contain my signature; 2) contain legal advice; 3) create an attorney/client relationship; or 4) guarantee confidentiality.
Yes, they can name you as a witness and yes, they can subpoena you and you must appear or be found in contempt of court. Prior to subpoena the way to get out of it is to file a Motion for Protective order. This motion must have the reasons you should not appear like "have very little knowledge whatsoever about the case".
After you are served with the subpoena, you must file a Motion to Quash.
Unfortunately, an attorney will need to do this for you.
I agree with Mr. Rubin, and would add that quashing a subpoena can be difficult. My office, which practices personal injury law, has subpoenaed countless lay witnesses for trial. Our reasons for doing so vary from case to case. Bear in mind that sometimes what may not seem important to you may be critical in a disputed case. Also, I have seen many "minor accidents" that cause significant and/or permanent injuries.
Andrew R. Tobergte