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Peter Michael Callahan

Peter Callahan’s Answers

2 total

  • Am I required to appear for a deposition? What if I do not show?

    In June of 2011, I was spoken to by lawyers representing my workplace about a customer who fell in June of 2009. When I was talked to, I had no recollection of the incident even though my name was on their witness list. I reinforced to them that I...

    Peter’s Answer

    Were you served with a subpoena requiring your appearance? Or is this simply a request from your employer's risk management department? Both merit serious consideration of your options, but those are two far different matters for concern. And whose witness list are you on, that of the customer who fell, or on your employer's list? You want to keep your employer happy, but there's far less concern for the customer.

    If you were served with a deposition subpoena, that is a valid court order, even though it is probably signed by a lawyer and not by a judge, and if you ignore it, the lawyer that issued it can go into court and request that a judge find you in contempt of court and order you to appear. The courts allow the lawyers to issue subpoenas in their (the court's) name, but they don't like to see lawyers trying to use court orders to try to bully citizens (who vote for judges). if you fail to obey that second court order that is in fact signed by a judge, then in theory you could be arrested and fined. However, as a practical matter, the lawyer issuing the subpoena doesn't want to incur the time and expense of going to court trying to get a judge to sign a court order compelling your appearance. The lawyer just wants to know that you have to say about this accident, especially if it would be helpful to his client's case. So your job is to convince him that he's barking up an empty tree, and to also leave a paper trail to show that he has been unreasonable in how he went about it. Your risk management department and their insurance company's lawyers should be assisting you in this fight, but if you have to do it yourself, here's how to proceed.

    Let's assume that this subpoena is from the customer's lawyer, and that you were served, either personally or by "by publication" (registered maili to your home, or serving an adult at your home and then then following up by regular mail). Leaving it with someone else at your place of work doesn't count. That lawyer probably thinks that you are either afraid to say something harmful to your employer, or that you simply don't want to be bothered attending a deposition. Both are probably true, but that doesn't get you out of it. What can get you out of it, howwever, is the truthful statement that you didn't see anything or at least have absolutely no recollection of seeing anything. You need to tell your risk management people that fact, and offer to sign a declaration under penalty of perjury that says exactly that. In fact, they or their lawyer should draft up such a declaration for you. If the RM people just refuse to assist you in this, and they should be fighting for you, then tell them what you intend to do - which is, you pick up the telephone (in their presence if they wish, I sure would want to know what my employee is telling the other side!) and call the lawyer that issued the subpoena and tell him or her that you know NOTHING about any alleged fall, and that you want them to withdraw the subpoena. Then write them a letter that says exactly that, and mail it to them by registered mail. If that course of conduct doesn't get them to withdraw the subpoena, then send them another registered letter, "signed under penalty of perjury" again explaining that you do not remember ANYTHING about this alleged incident, explaining why this noticed deposition is terribly inconvenient, and again asking that it be withdrawn, but if not, asking that the deposition by taken at your place of employment, at a time convenient to you.

    The real reason that you are doing all this and leaving a paper trail is to have something to show the judge, if they won't withdraw the subpoena and you don't show up, and they then have to go into court to try to he judge will try to figure out which is the unreasonable one, you or the lawyer? You should win that one!

    If you are on the company list, your employer should provide you with a lawyer, transportation, and time off with pay to attend.

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  • Should my copy of my original will have the signatures of the witnesses

    1997 my I wrote my will. My son told me the attorney has the original. My question is this. My copy of the original does not contain the signatures of witness's or the testatrix , me, and no registery number. How can I tell that this is not a co...

    Peter’s Answer

    You very definately should have an EXECUTED copy of your will - "executed" means "signed".

    Your copy should not only have your signiture but also the signitures of the witnesses, and this completely executed (signed by everyone) will should be in your "papers". You should have a large envelope marked "Will/Final Papers" that is kept in your home where someone can easily find it if you pass away, or are otherwise unable to communicate - let's say, by a srtoke. Certainly a completely signed copy of the will should also be in your safety deposit box, but that is sometimes a biot complicated to get into, and there may be some delays. You should plan for an untoward event by having the aformentioned envelope easily found by family or friends.

    Besides the will, this envelope should contain your medical directives regarding your wishes pertaining to life support, copies of your life and medical insurance policies, contact information for all of your doctors, your lawyer, your relatives that you would want contacted, your clery people, the contact information for your witnesses on that will, any anything else that someone might possibly need if they were to step in "cold" (with no preperation) and try to assist you when you cannot communicate.All bank accounts with identifying numbers? Sure. Any notes/contracts for loans that you have made? Of course. What you want done with the pets? You should take a moment and make a list of what you would tell someone if you knew that you were going to be incapacitated by a stroke in the next few days.

    The lawyer who drafted the will should immediately provide you with a completely signed copy at no charge. His or her name will probably be on the first page of the will. If you do not want the lawyer to contact the executor, simply tell the lawyer that, but if you are uncomfortable with the executor, perhaps you should change executors. it need not be a relative, but I suggest someone younger than you who is in good health, and the same for the two alternate executors who can step in if your first choince is unable or unwilling to do the job. It should be someone in whom you have complete trust and with whom you are very comfortable, and that doesn't seem to be the case here. Don't pick some relative that you are not completely comfortable with "just because you think you should" or because that person's 'feelings might be hurt" if you don't. If you need a reason to drop the current executor, just tell them that you didn't want to bother them with this burden. But get someone you trust, and make sure that they are willing to so serve. And then get them a complete copy of that same envelope. Do it today.

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