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Spurious information subpoena

Chappaqua, NY |

Greetings,

I received an information subpoena about someone I have no knowledge of. I have never met or known this chap. It seems that this fellow had a judgment entered against him, and the debt-collector is sending me a list of questions since he has " a reasonable belief that "the party receiving this subp has info in their possession about....illegible typing ... collect the judgment". I have never employed this fellow or anyone else for that matter. Do I have to respond to this? Can I ask for evidence of their "reasonable belief"?

Thanks.

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Filed under: Subpoena
Attorney answers 1

Posted

Under New York law, an information subpoena issued to a person or entity other than the judgment debtor must contain the following certification: I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THIS INFORMATION SUBPOENA COMPLIES WITH RULE 5224 OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES AND THAT I HAVE A REASONABLE BELIEF THAT THE PARTY RECEIVING THIS SUBPOENA HAS IN THEIR POSSESSION INFORMATION ABOUT THE DEBTOR THAT WILL ASSIST THE CREDITOR IN COLLECTING THE JUDGMENT.

If such a signed certification is not contained in the subpoena, then the subpoena is null and void and the recipient does not need to answer it. If the signed certification is contained in the subpoena, however, then the recipient is required to either: a) answer to subpoena; or b) file a motion, in the court which issued the underlying judgment, to quash the subpoena. The question of what constitutes a "reasonable belief" is a matter for the court to determine.

Often, the easiest way to deal with an issue of this nature is to call the attorney who issued the subpoena, explain that it was misdirected to you and that you have no information which is responsive to the questions asked. The attorney will usually then either: a) agree to withdraw the subpoena based upon the oral representations you have made; or b) request that you submit your response in the form of a sworn answer to the subpoena. Unless there is a missing signed certification, you should not simply ignore the subpoena.

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