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The consequences of not responding to a subpoena

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Aug 03, 2016 | 0 Comments

I have mentioned before that there are serious consequences to not responding to a subpoena issued by the Attorney General. In this article, I want to explain a little more about those consequences. Generally speaking, both Wyoming and Colorado have similar statutory authority for issuing and enforcing civil investigative subpoenas. However, there are a couple of distinctions between them.

Both states allow the Attorney General to issue subpoenas to gather evidence and interview witnesses. If a party fails to respond to the subpoena, the Attorney General is authorized to apply to the district court for an order to enforce the subpoena. Colorado's statute goes one step further and even allows the court to issue an order prohibiting the subpoenaed company from the sale or advertisement of its property in the state. Colorado courts have also issued orders requiring the subpoenaed company to pay the Attorney General's attorneys fees and costs in enforcing the subpoena. This can affect your company even if it is out of state, as the Colorado Attorney General's Office has been known to take such an order and file it in the state in which the target company is located, and enforce the order there to recover the fees and costs.

Another difference between Wyoming and Colorado is that Wyoming companies are subject to dissolution of they fail to respond to a valid subpoena. What this means is that if you formed a Wyoming limited liability company (LLC) or corporation, and your company fails to respond to a subpoena issued by the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, then your company could be dissolved by the Wyoming Secretary of State.

The bottom line is that if your company fails to respond to a Colorado subpoena, it could face an order prohibiting it from operating in Colorado and being obligated to pay attorneys fees. If your company fails to respond to a Wyoming subpoena, and it is a Wyoming company, it could be dissolved. And in every case, your company could be subject to a civil action in district court to enforce the subpoena.

If you receive a civil investigative subpoena, please feel free to contact Harmony Law for assistance. Harmony Law can provide the best solution to dealing with the subpoena.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Prior to opening Harmony Law, Mr. Hutchins worked in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office for several years where he developed a strong consumer protection enforcement unit. In that position he led over 120 investigations and enforcement actions under the Consumer Protection Act. He worked on numerous joint cases with the Federal Trade Commission and other states, including Colorado, on consumer protection matters. Mr. Hutchins is also a contributing author to Consumer Protection Law Developments, Second Edition. Previous to his work in the Attorney General's Office, Mr. Hutchins was in private practice in Anchorage, Alaska where he was the chief litigator for a firm. Mr. Hutchins represented municipalities on various matters. Mr. Hutchins provided counsel to businesses and investment advisors regarding compliance with securities laws. He was also a bond lawyer and worked on municipal financing matters. Prior to that, Mr. Hutchins practiced civil litigation with a law firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mr. Hutchins devotes his spare time to his family, traveling and enjoying the great outdoors.

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Harmony Law is one of the few law firms in Colorado and Wyoming that focuses on consumer law. Mr. Hutchins is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and state chair for Wyoming. If you have a consumer law issue, please feel free to call 970-488-1857 and speak with Mr. Hutchins.

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