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What is motion to quash subpoena mean?

Toledo, OH |

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A subpoena is a command under court rules to provide certain documents or to appear at a deposition or hearing. The person who is commanded to appear or produce documents may not agree that he or she should have to appear or produce. The motion that person files is a motion to quash the subpoena. If the court agrees, the court issues an order quashing a subpoena. It is an order by the court that the command to appear or produce need not be followed. A motion to quash is generally the only legitimate way to avoid a subpoena, unless the attorney who issued it agrees to voluntarily withdraw it.

This information is for informational purposes only and for general information. It is not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice must be based on the exact facts of the particular situation, and by necessity this forum is not appropriate for discussion of specific, exact facts. Contact a lawyer for more specific advice.


Very generally, someone has issued a subpeona (an order to appear and / or produce documents), and the recipient objects to its validity.

As a general example, suppose someone subpeonas me, but there is no pending lawsuit that would give them authority or right to do that. I could file a motion to quash. And other, toothier things, as well.

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To "quash" a subpoena means to make it void and not have to respond to it. Subpoenas are orders served by one of the parties toa lawsuit on 3rd party witnesses. A subpoena seeks production of documents reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, which is a low standard.

But if the requested documents invade privilege or are very burdensome, don't provide the requisite amount of notice, seek "personal records" without notifying the consumer, or there's some other grounds for objection, they can be "quashed."

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A subpoena is a Court order to provide testimony or documents on a specified date. The party/person named is obligated to provide the testimony or the documents. Failure to provide the same can result in a civil contempt finding by the Court.
A Motion to Quash the Subpoena requests that the Judge nullify or "quash" the subpoena for a variety of reasons such as the information is privileged, or the time provided is too short to provide the testimony/documents, or providing the same will cause an undue hardship(i.e. travel,cost, etc.)

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