Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger Answers: As a Physician, What Should I Do if I Receive a Subpoena Duces Tecum?

At some point in your medical career, you will receive a subpoena. A subpoena is a formal, legal request for either a witnesses’ presence at a legal proceeding or for documents. A subpoena duces tecum is a request for documents. While receiving a subpoena may mean that there is a complaint or lawsuit about to be filed against you, it may also be more benign. Given the vast amount of information that passes through a physician’s office and the thousands of patients treated, it is not surprising that some of that information would be pertinent to a legal action. The question is whether that legal action will affect you and your license to practice medicine. Without the help of experienced counsel, it is difficult to know whether a subpoena duces tecum signals an impending lawsuit or just a routine request for information.

If you are physician in Kansas or Missouri and have received a subpoena, do not try to figure out the next steps alone. Instead, call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with the legal process. Your career is simply worth too much to go forward without expert advice.

Important Parts of the Subpoena

The subpoena is a paper document with a “header” with the name of the issuing court, the names of the parties, and its court file number. The subpoena will also tell you what documents are requested, who is directed to produce them, and the deadline for production. Depending on the type of subpoena, it will usually request that you send the documents either to one of the attorneys or to a specified court address. There is a significant difference between in-state and out-of-state subpoenas; you are likely subject to the former, but out-of-state subpoenas may not be valid or enforceable. You should seek the help of experienced counsel to determine whether the subpoena you received in valid before responding to it.

Discovery vs. Trial Subpoenas

Subpoenas are either issued by one of the lawyers involved in a case or the clerk of a courthouse. Subpoenas decus tecum are either “discovery subpoenas” or “trial subpoenas.”  The former, discovery subpoenas, are issued when one party needs “discovery” or information as it prepares for trial. The latter, trial subpoenas, are issued when one party intends to present the requested material in court. Both subpoenas carry the force of law, meaning that regardless of which type of subpoena you receive, you have an obligation to provide it unless there is some legal bar to doing so. The main difference between the two is the level of reliability. Specifically, trial subpoenas must usually be certified copies, signed by the physician who created them or the head of a medical clinic or hospital. By comparison, discovery subpoenas can just be photocopies.

What is the Required Response Time?

The response time for producing documents requested by a subpoena decus tecum can vary widely. Discovery subpoenas are casual, and attorneys seeking them are usually requesting material from a wide variety of sources; they usually have thirty-day response time or longer. Trial subpoenas, on the other hand, are for documents that are needed quickly for a hearing or trial. They may have a much shorter response time, sometimes as short as a day or two, but usually three days.

Contact an Experienced Kansas and Missouri Licensing Attorney Now

You deserve to be practicing medicine without the fear. Contacting an experienced licensing attorney when you receive a subpoena decus tecum or any other legal correspondence. Experienced counsel can help put your concerns to rest and help you respond to the subpoena in a manner that protects your interests.

If you are a physician in Kansas or Missouri and are worried about misconduct costing you your career, call attorney Sanger now.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend your livelihood. Call Attorney Sanger at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney experienced dealing with physician licensing issues.