When it comes time to learn how to enforce a judgment, you can rely on us if you are not looking for the undertaking. Otherwise, this "How-To" can be used to help get your judgment collection started.
When a company or organization that is not a party has records you need, use a "Deposition Subpoena for Business Records" to obtain them. (If the company is a party, use a "Request for Production of Documents.") Warning! You cannot get the records right away. It will take about 30 days even if everything goes smoothly, so plan ahead.
Using a "Deposition Subpoena for Business Records" is usually a two-part process. First, if the records relate to a Consumer/Employee, you must have that person served with a "Notice to Consumer or Employee" and the subpoena, and give them at least five days to object. If there are other parties in the case, they get served with copies of the Notice and Subpoena too.
Second, if the Consumer/Employee does not object, you then have the papers personally served on the Witness, and give them time (at least 15 days) to respond. This must be personal service; mail will not work. They should respond by sending you copies of the records you request. Despite the name, there is no actual deposition or hearing.
(If the Consumer/Employee objects, the Witness cannot respond until the objection is resolved. See Step 6, below.)
1. Figure out the timing.
Choose the day you want to receive the documents and figure out your schedule. (See: Worksheet to Determine Dates for Service.) The timing is very important and can be tricky, because if there is a Consumer/Employee, you have to give that person time to object, but you must also give the Witness at least 15 days to produce the documents.
2. Fill out the following forms
(see the attached samples for more information on specific forms):
3. Get the subpoena "issued"
by taking all these papers to the filing room at court and ask the filing clerk to issue it. When the clerk stamps it with the court's seal, it becomes an official court order. You don't need to file anything now.
4. Make at least 3 sets of photocopies
of all the papers (one for you, one for the Consumer/Employee, one for the Witness, and one each for any other parties' attorneys). Keep all the originals safe in case you need them later.
5. First round of service (on Consumer/Employee and other parties, if any).
Remember, you can't do the service yourself! Get someone who is not a party to do the service for you.
6. Wait 10 days
(5 if you had the Consumer/Employee served by hand) for any objection from the Consumer/Employee.
If the Consumer/Employee objects, he or she must file a motion to quash or modify the subpoena (if a party) or serve a written objection (if a non-party) 5 days before the date specified for production. If this happens, the Witness may not produce the documents until you get a court order or an agreement between you, the Witness and the Consumer/Employee.
In that case, you may make a motion to compel production within 20 days after service of the written objection. You must first make a reasonable and good faith attempt to informally resolve the dispute. For more information on the procedure and on possible grounds for objections, see California Code of Civil Procedure sections 1985.3 and 1985.6, and California Points and Authorities, Chapter 81.240-81.254.)
7. Second round of service (on Witness).
After the time for objection has expired, have the Witness personally served with copies of all documents. Make sure the copy of the Notice to Consumer or Employee has the proof of service. Have the process server fill out the proof of service on the back of the original Deposition Subpoena. Keep that in your files in case a dispute comes up.
8.Receive the documents.
If all goes well, you should receive the documents in the mail shortly after the due date, along with the completed "Interrogatories to Custodian of Record." At this point:
For assistance in creating these documents, you may want to contact a professional photocopier service (call a local law office and ask who they use) or consult an attorney. To find assistance in the Sacramento area, use the "Legal Referral" information on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/legal-referral-list.aspx.
The "Deposition Subpoena ? Business Records" (SUBP-010) and "Notice to Consumer or Employee" (SUBP-025) forms are available from the Judicial Council's website at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/.
You can learn more about discovery in general at Nolo.com: http://tinyurl.com/c35z3a.
Information about preparing evidence for admission in a court trial or hearing can be found on the Judicial Council's website at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/equalaccess/documents/getting-evidence.pdf
The following books have information about preparing business records subpoenas:
Information on consumer/employee objections can be found in:
California Points and Authorities Vol. 8, Chap. 81, Sec. 240-254. KFC 1010. B4