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  • What do you know about subpoenas?

    1) Can a subpoena be 'delivered' via email?
    I am always either being sued or threatened to be sued from my [email protected] websites.

    2) This time someone has been emailing me to obtain my mailing address so that they can issue a subpoena to me. Do I have to tell them my mailing address?

    3) Can a subpoena be issued without any 'cause'/reason?

  • #2
    I would ignore it, it they have a good reason to or know what there doing they can get your name and address.

    and what are these lame arse sites? :lol
    www.yamaha-forum.net | www.exactservers.com | www.ducati-superbikes.com | www.suzuki-forums.net | www.diavel-forum.com

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    • #3
      just some vb forums that I slopped together. The most recent was for the town I live in. People got super mad because other people said 'mean' things about them and now they have a real lawsuit on the books and my website is supposedly going to get subpoenaed to obtain the email address of the 'mean' users. What a waste of my friggin' time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rnmcd View Post
        just some vb forums that I slopped together. The most recent was for the town I live in. People got super mad because other people said 'mean' things about them and now they have a real lawsuit on the books and my website is supposedly going to get subpoenaed to obtain the email address of the 'mean' users. What a waste of my friggin' time.

        That's funny, you have nothing to worry about... let them track you down. People meed to remember the freedom of speech act.

        Good luck though.
        www.yamaha-forum.net | www.exactservers.com | www.ducati-superbikes.com | www.suzuki-forums.net | www.diavel-forum.com

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        • #5
          If an official law firm emails you, find that law firm in the yellow pages and call the number you find there (not the number they put in the email), and ask them to confirm the email. Then tell them that all legal communication can't be done over the internet and should be mailed in full to you in writing, upon which you will respond. This to avoid fraudulent communication or to avoid emails accidentally getting 'lost'.

          If they are a real law firm and are asking you to remove data from your site and the data is indeed breaking a law, it is always handy to simply give in on that. If they do not specifically ask to retain any privacy details you're free to 'not retain' them.

          Note and realize that they do not sue you, but that they wish for your cooperation in regards to data stored on your database because of an issue between people who used your service. Legally you do not have to share any privacy details such as privately stored email addresses or host addresses from profiles of members on your site. Unless they actually present you with a court order. Of course, you can decide they qualify as a legal party (authority) and provide them with the information requested.

          Another legal aspect to realize is that if you give them the info, but no real authority such as a court (hence the term court order) that the counter party can say 'I will now sue you for sharing my private data such as email address without my explicit permission'. In that case, the issue is new, and between you and that party, instead of between those two parties. Only causing you to get into trouble. Whereas if you only give out details when they present you with a court order, you protect yourself, avoid any lawsuits.

          If they indeed postal mail you the law firm request - thingy... get legal advice from a professional and ask them what the best step is to do.

          I have received quite some email communication that turned out to be fake, simply to get someone else on a forum into trouble. I have also received a real letter from a huge firm once, after I emailed them back I never heard from them again (thankfully explaining to them that their mail didn't mention I had to retain the data, which I didn't)

          I believe it is always wise to reply to a legal letter in writing, if not only to confirm to them that you have received it. This gives them the impression you're listening and not ignoring them, and perhaps willing to resolve the matter outside of court.

          Please note: I am NOT a legal agent or a professional in law.

          Comment


          • #6
            In the U.S., subpoenas generally have to be "personally served" on the party to have any "legal" effect.

            That said, if someone mails, or emails, you a subpoena it may be accompanied by a form which they ask you to sign and mail back "acknowledging" service of a subpoena. In other words, they are asking you to "agree" you have been effectively served, even though you have not been served in the "usual" required manner. In many jurisdictions, such a signed "acknowledgment" would be as effective as if it were "personally" served, but no one is "required" to sign and return such forms.

            Since someone is sending you an email, asking for your "address" to serve you something by "mail," the greater likelihood is that they are simply attempting to scare you about their intentions. It's easy to send an email, and it's easy to mail something, but to "serve" a subpoena, one generally has to pay a process server who will sign a document under legal oath, that the subpoena was served in a lawful manner, or it generally has little foundation in legal proceedings.

            Generally, a subpoena will only be issued for an existing civil action, unless it is a subpoena from a governmental agency doing some form of investigation of potential violations of state or federal law. Law firms can have a subpoena issued after they file a civil complaint. In ordinary circumstances, civilians can not get a subpoena unless a lawsuit has already been filed.

            Most jurisdictions in the U.S. will have a list of civil suits, organized both by the name of the person suing and by the name of the person being sued. Many have such lists available online, at least in many larger cities. But a quick trip to the local court house will generally discover any lawsuits filed with "your name" on them.

            Having a website where people express opinions about their neighbors using their true names always carries some risk of annoying those people identified. It often helps to have some prominent language displayed on the maim page of any Forums which contain such information which, like TV and Movies, "disclaim" responsibility for the "opinions" expressed and identify them as solely the opinions of the poster/writer. Not a fool-proof guarantee against violating various laws against libel and/or slander, but generally you will need to receive warning of untrue/false materials and a request to remove/retract it before generally facing potential civil liability.

            And "freedom of speech" in the U.S. does not give anyone the unlimited right to say or print false and/or defamatory information about another individual without the person who is falsely spoken about having their own rights to seek damages. That's why newspapers often print "retractions" or "correct" inaccurate information they may have written about someone. It is a fairly complex subject, but "freedom of speech and/or press" only is a complete defense to such claims when the information is actually "true" or can fairly be classified only as "opinion."

            Regards,
            Last edited by slappy; Sun 4 Mar '07, 10:43pm.
            Slappy

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rnmcd View Post
              1) Can a subpoena be 'delivered' via email?
              I am always either being sued or threatened to be sued from my [email protected] websites.

              2) This time someone has been emailing me to obtain my mailing address so that they can issue a subpoena to me. Do I have to tell them my mailing address?

              3) Can a subpoena be issued without any 'cause'/reason?

              Definition of a subpoena:
              The usual writ for the summoning of witnesses or the submission of evidence, as records or documents, before a court or other deliberative body.

              You are under no obligation to volunteer information. The person who wants information will have to obtain a subpoena via other means to get your information.


              US Laws:
              At this point in time, subpoenas must be delivered by a person. You must be served BY A THIRD PARTY unaffiliated with the case. If served by a first party or someone directly affiliated with either parties, he/she can not serve you and it would not be binding.

              Subpoenas can be issued without any reason or cause, however they are required to give you a scope of what they are looking for. They can't just throw out a huge net hoping to find something. It has to be relatively specific to a certain matter.

              For example, let's say Intel was subpoenaed by AMD. Intel's a huge organization and AMD can not obtain a subpoena related to Intel itself and everything it does. It has to be relatively specific. In this case, AMD obtained a subpoena for documents related to potential antitrust matters in dealings with computer manufacturers like Dell, Sony, etc.
              Last edited by ManagerJosh; Sat 3 Mar '07, 11:00pm.
              ManagerJosh, Owner of 4 XenForo Licenses, 1 vBulletin Legacy License, 1 Internet Brands Suite License
              Director, WorldSims.org | Gaming Hosting Administrator, SimGames.net, Urban Online Entertainment

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank everyone for the information. I will see how this one develops. I do know that the person requesting my email address so she can have a subpoena served to me does have an active/open court case. She just wants more 'ammo' to support that she has been 'talked about in a derogatory manner.'

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rnmcd View Post
                  1) Can a subpoena be 'delivered' via email?
                  I am always either being sued or threatened to be sued from my [email protected] websites.

                  2) This time someone has been emailing me to obtain my mailing address so that they can issue a subpoena to me. Do I have to tell them my mailing address?

                  3) Can a subpoena be issued without any 'cause'/reason?
                  I'm not a lawyer so I'm not "qualified" to give you legal advice of course, and I believe Floris definatly had some good advice for you, but I'll try to chime in with my own knowledge.

                  1 - If a subpoena is sent via email, I wouldn't trust it at all. What if you don't check your email very often? What if it gets filtered into your spam box? I wouldn't take any action on anything I got in my email UNLESS you could verify it was from a reptutable company by contacting them. Every once in awhile I've heard of people being emailed by companies who want to avoid legal action, and will nicely ask you to take something copyrighted or some thread slandering their company done.

                  2 - You don't have to tell them anything. If they want to figure out your address, it's there problem. They'd have to take up the issue with their lawyer or whatever and get your address through some other (legal) means. I'd either just ignore the email, or if you have a lawyer just give them the contact information for him/her.

                  3 - Criminal charges can't be brought against you for any reason, but atleast in the U.S., people can sue for whatever they want. Sometimes it's pretty stupid, but I doubt any reputable legal firm would be sending you a subpoena via email. Like Floris said, it's fairly easy to contact the legal firm if you want to confirm or get anything cleared up. Unless I got something in the postal mail from a law firm - signed, sealed, and dated I wouldn't be too worried.

                  Hopefully that helps a bit

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MidnightPyro View Post
                    1 - If a subpoena is sent via email, I wouldn't trust it at all. What if you don't check your email very often? What if it gets filtered into your spam box? I wouldn't take any action on anything I got in my email UNLESS you could verify it was from a reptutable company by contacting them. Every once in awhile I've heard of people being emailed by companies who want to avoid legal action, and will nicely ask you to take something copyrighted or some thread slandering their company done.
                    I would simply delete it. They have no proof that it ever got to you. If someone was serious, they wold send it to via registered mail.

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                    • #11
                      The didn't send the subpoena to me via email.

                      I was just wondering what I should do if I did get it via email. I will 'forget' I even received it.

                      But they are demanding that I provide them a mailing address so then can subpoena me properly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rnmcd View Post
                        The didn't send the subpoena to me via email.

                        I was just wondering what I should do if I did get it via email. I will 'forget' I even received it.

                        But they are demanding that I provide them a mailing address so then can subpoena me properly.
                        Again, you aren't obligated to do so. Privacy laws still have some grounds here and by releasing your mailing address, you waive some rights of privacy away.
                        ManagerJosh, Owner of 4 XenForo Licenses, 1 vBulletin Legacy License, 1 Internet Brands Suite License
                        Director, WorldSims.org | Gaming Hosting Administrator, SimGames.net, Urban Online Entertainment

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As I said in my post, aboue, unless your state laws are very unusual, they simply can't 'subpoena' you by mail. It wouldn't be legally effective. And you are not obligated to provide your mailing address in response to an email. If they know your 'real' name, they need to look you up is a directory and/or hire someone to go out and actually find you.

                          If they have an existing lawsuit, which I believe you indicated they did, they could attempt to actually serve a subpoena on your ISP to get your mailing address, but even that wouldn't work if your ISP was out of state. And again, mail service is generally bogus.

                          Remember that people can 'demand" whatever they want. That does not make their demand either 'lawful' nor something which needs to be responded to.

                          Regards,
                          Slappy

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As I said in my post, above, unless your state laws are very unusual, they simply can't 'subpoena' you by mail. It wouldn't be legally effective. And you are not obligated to provide your mailing address in response to an email or phone call. If they know your 'real' name, they need to look you up in a directory and/or hire someone to go out and actually find where you live and 'personally' serve you with a document.

                            If they have an existing lawsuit, which I believe you indicated they did, they could attempt to actually serve a subpoena on your ISP to get your mailing address, but even that wouldn't work if your ISP was out of state. And again, mail service is generally bogus on companies as well.

                            Remember that people can 'demand" whatever they want. That does not make their demand either 'lawful,' nor something which needs to be responded to. If they don't intend to take the time, or spend the money to find you, they aren't 'really' serious.

                            Regards,
                            Slappy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The Sheriff's office has just above found me to serve the subpoena to me (they attempted to deliver it to a relative of mine).

                              When I am served the subpoena do I have to admit that I do own the website?

                              ---------------------------

                              EDIT: The first six words of this post should be:

                              The Sheriff's office has just about
                              Last edited by rnmcd; Tue 20 Mar '07, 4:13pm. Reason: fix first sentence

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