Jump to content

Do I have to go testify?


Recommended Posts

I got a call today from a process server saying she had a subpoena for me in a court case set for January the 9th. She wants to get it to me tomorrow. She professed not to have it with her at the moment but said that there was a witness fee check attached. That and the court date were the only things she knew.

In previous cases, the attorneys have called me in advance and worked out an agreeable fee with me. This obviously didn't happen here. I don't know how this works, but if there's a standard token fee for being a witness I'll get hosed due to losing that day's income.

So my question is this: If the attorney won't agree to pay me a reasonable fee, do I absolutely have to go? Is it legally required?

I don't like doing this even when I am being paid.[:-yuck]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure it's different in all states, but here in Kentucky you'd be in contempt if you didn't show. It's pretty weird that some attorney would subpoena you without knowing how you're gonna answer whatever questions he's going to fire at you.

I've agreed to testify a few times and, more often than not, there are tons of continuances, so you have to make certain that whomever you're testifying for pays you for your time even if the thing gets postponed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Get your lawyer to call the other lawyer. After about 30 seconds of conversation, they'll agree that you won't need to go.

WJ

Hrmm a process server calls, says your required to be somewhere but not sure why. To me there is something missing. Not saying that you are, but maybe your not a witness? Like SonofSam, erm SonofSwamp [:-slaphap said, call your lawyer. Thats what he is paid for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hrmm a process server calls, says your required to be somewhere but not sure why. To me there is something missing. Not saying that you are, but maybe your not a witness? Like SonofSam, erm SonofSwamp [:-slaphap said, call your lawyer. Thats what he is paid for.

Well, I doubt that I'm getting sued...after all, she said that the court date was already set for a week from now, and there was a witness fee check attached. I can't imagine that it would work that way if I were the defendant. Not to mention that I am not aware of anyone with a beef against me. The server called from her car. That much was obvious, and she said that the papers were in the office and she was 2 counties away at the time she called.

I've never been on the wrong end of a lawsuit, but I kinda doubt they'd call and make an appointment to serve you with a subpoena!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you were getting sued, you'd have twenty days to respond from the time of service, and there wouldn't be a court date, yet.

As for the other, the one and only time that I was sued, the deputy sheriff rang me up on the phone, told me she had a subpoena for me, and wanted to know where to find me. I gave her the address of the house I was checking out at the time. She showed up thirty minutes later and delivered that crap right into my hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Bain

If you were getting sued, you'd have twenty days to respond from the time of service, and there wouldn't be a court date, yet.

As for the other, the one and only time that I was sued, the deputy sheriff rang me up on the phone, told me she had a subpoena for me, and wanted to know where to find me. I gave her the address of the house I was checking out at the time. She showed up thirty minutes later and delivered that crap right into my hands.

Well, thanks for opening up that scenario. Now I won't sleep tonight. But seriously, would it be likely that I could be the subject of a suit if I have no notice of anyone with a complaint? I mean, normally, wouldn't you at least contact the inspector with a demand? Or file a complaint with the state licensing board? (We DO have one.)

The one time I had a customer with a gripe that's what happened. 11 months after the inspection he had an attorney send a demand letter saying I missed a heat exchanger crack in a gas furnace. Never mind that I pointed out that there were scorch marks on the outside of the housing and the temp rise was over 90 degrees. I called for an HVAC pro to disassemble the unit as needed to ascertain the extent of repairs required. I (not my attorney) wrote a reply letter and never heard another word.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, thanks for opening up that scenario. Now I won't sleep tonight. But seriously, would it be likely that I could be the subject of a suit if I have no notice of anyone with a complaint? I mean, normally, wouldn't you at least contact the inspector with a demand? Or file a complaint with the state licensing board? (We DO have one.)

My guess is that somebody is trying to get you to come down to the courthouse so a lawyer can ask you a few questions about an inspection you did. They're trying to get you to do it for free. Most likely, this is pissant small-claims stuff. If there were real money at stake, you wouldn't be getting the amateur-hour treatment; you'd be exchanging open dates with the lawyers, setting up your deposition time/place.

Now, if you call your lawyer like I suggested, your lawyer will call the other lawyer, find out what's up, and explain that you're not coming to the courthouse to be a free witness. Your lawyer may say that you're available to be an expert, but you're not available to be a free witness.

If your lawyer tells you to go to the courthouse at the appointed time, it may turn out that you'll have to answer yes or no to a question something like this: "Did you write/say the following about XYZ?"

You'll probably end up saying, "Heck, I don't know. Can't remember." And that'll be that.

Call your lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer, get one for cryin' out loud.

Home inspectors are the worst at giving legal advice.

WJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin, Your situation sounds like what I had a couple of years ago. I was "invited" down to Chicago to an arbitration hearing by the SELLER'S attorney - buyer was claiming seller did not make repair as claimed. They just wanted me to confirm what I wrote on the report - it had nothing to do with my missing anything or being at fault. They also had a contractor there who confirmed the conditions present. Their questions took 4-5 minutes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DUDE! I figured it out! You said the server was female right? Did you hear any giggling in the background? I bet your birthday or anniversary or something like that is coming up huh! Yeah thats it, your wife/girlfriend is setting you up for a surprise party! Let us know how it went.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it wasn't a birthday surprise for me--although that is in less than 2 weeks. My wife's never been that creative!

Here's the story for those playing along at home: I got a call a few months ago from a guy wanting an "11th month" inspection prior to the warranty running out on his new home. Seemed legit. I got there, did my thing, and then walked through the home with him. He then proceeded to burden me with his "defect list" in excruciating detail. He followed that up with a story about how he went door-to-door trying to get others to hop on his "let's get the builder" bandwagon. He admitted he wasn't too successful. Honestly, there wasn't really that much wrong. This was not a mansion built with the utmost care, but neither was it a tract home which was absolutely slapped together. To hear him tell it the home was falling apart. He goes on and on as I am gracefully trying to exit since I can see where it's going. Then he says that the builder filed a complaint that he was harassing her. Apparently the charge stuck, because this case in question has the State of Arkansas as plaintiff in a criminal case against the guy.

Walter--Thanks for the advice to call my attorney. I did, even though he has moved to a different city and I haven't talked to him in over 2 years. Seems he taught the defendant's attorney in law school! (I have to think that helped me out when I mentioned his name.) He told me that since I was hired in preparation for litigation, I was entitled to proper compensation as an expert witness, not the $40 they sent as though I were only a witness to fact.

I'd still prefer not to go, but at least the attorney agreed to pay me my "usual" fee for the lost work time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...