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. If you or your company have been served with a subpoena, your first step should be to contact Harmony Law immediately. Timing is very important in responding or defending against a subpoena.

In this article, I want to explain about the consequences of not responding to a subpoena. 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.

Penalties for not responding

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.

The focus may turn to you personally if the company does not respond

Another downside to not responding to a civil investigative subpoena is that the Attorney General's Office may go after you personally. There is a legal basis to pursue consumer protection act claims against those directly involved in the alleged violations. Even if you have formed an LLC to insulate you from liability, you can still be personally liable for violations of the consumer protection act.

Contact Harmony Law for assistance

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

UPDATE: Be careful if you are contacted by the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. Talk to an attorney immediately if you are contacted by the Office in any way. Don't expect the Attorney General's Office to act reasonably towards you. For more helpful information go here.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins started his legal career in Cheyenne, Wyoming as a law clerk for the district court judges. Mr. Hutchins then entered private practice with a Wyoming based litigation and business law firm. Later, Mr. Hutchins went to Alaska, where he was the chief litigator for a firm that engaged in bond law, corporate law, securities law, and municipal law. The State of Wyoming hired Mr. Hutchins from Alaska to represent the State of Wyoming in the national tobacco arbitration and act as its tobacco settlement attorney. While in that position, as a hobby, he developed an enforcement unit for consumer protection for Wyoming residents. Mr. Hutchins moved to Colorado in 2016 and founded Harmony Law, LLC. Harmony Law is primarily engaged in civil litigation. It is also a general practice firm in the areas of business law, estate planning, consumer law and family law. Harmony Law is active in all state and federal courts throughout Wyoming and Colorado.


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