There's no penalty per se. You can, however, file a motion to require the trustee to respond to the subpoena. My prediction is that the judge will not quite laugh you out of court, but that you will lose nonetheless -- trustees have almost complete immunity from suits by debtors. Now, if there were a contested matter in progress and the judge had authorized discovery, you could serve normal kinds of discovery. But I'll hazard a guess that is not the case.
You are pro se and you have served a Subpoena on the Trustee for documents. Well, I would certainly like to know why and for what documents. My guess is that had you had an attorney what you are doing would in all likelihood not be necessary. As my colleague indicated in an earlier response, you can file a motion to compel the Trustee to comply with the Subpoena and the Judge will listen to your reason for needing the documents and perhaps even direct the Trustee to comply with the Subpoena and provide them. However, it is unlikely that the Trustee will be sanctioned for noncompliance. I think you should really discuss your case with a competent bankruptcy attorney before you spend a lot of time and effort that may be unnecessary.
I could throw a stone to where you live from my office window. We offer a free consultation. You can give me a call with no obligation and let me know more of the circumstances of your case.
Bruce C. Truesdale
The problem is that your question raises a lot of questions but does not give us enough information for an intelligent and informed answer to be posted. Why did you serve the subpoena? what kind of documents are you seeking? Did you file a complaint against the trustee for some kind of specific misconduct and now he/she is not responding to legitimate discovery requests/ Conversly, did the trustee file a complaint against you and your discovery is perhaps intended to assist in preparing your defense? Is your document request made to the United State Trustee or to the case trustee? Are you the Debtor or are these perhaps documents you are seeking as a creditor? If you are a creditor, perhaps you should be asking the debtor or his/her attorney for the documents and perhaps you need to file an adversary complaint against the debtor? These are just some scenarios that pop into my head. The point is that your questions does not give us any where near enough information to assit you in any way at all.
Most if not all bankruptcy attorney's, myself included, and Mr. Truesdale, as he mentioned, offer a free consultaiton. Avail yourself of that offer from one of us.
Best of luck and ... make it a great day!
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby.
I agree with those that have already commented and merely wish to point out that, at least in Utah, a party acting pro se cannot sign a subpoena. If you created a subpoena and did not have the court clerk issue it, it may not be a valid subpoena at all and no response can or will be compelled.
Providing this answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. Most legal questions are exceedingly fact-sensitive and therefore this answer is a best-guess based on the information you provide. You should consult an attorney licensed in your state to further discuss your matter.
There is no penalty. However, if you are legally entitled to the information you can file a motion to compel with the judge. If the judge enters an order to compel and the documents are not provided, the responding party can be held in contempt. Contempt sanctions can include a fine or even jail.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.