Hood River, OR asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Juvenile Law for Oregon

Q: What are the laws regarding abuse of process and frivolous subpoenas?

Me and several people are being subpoenaed by the opposing party in regards to guardianship of a minor. Several of which have either passed away or haven't even associated with the involved parties enough to warrant a satisfactory reason for the subpoena. The opposing party requesting all the subpoenas does not have a lawyer. The minor does. It honestly looks like the opposing party went through the current guardian's Facebook friends list and just started writing down names just to tie up the courts and the minor's lawyer with a bunch of paperwork and fees. Also, if the opposing party is successful in acquiring the requested subpoenas, what are the legal rights of the person being frivolously subpoenaed against the requesting party? I know there are laws against this kind of abuse of process in Washington State, but what about Oregon State?

1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: If the subpoena is truly frivolous you can file a motion to quash the subpoena and explain to the court why you think this is frivolous. Just because subpoena's are being issued doesn't mean that they will be served. In Oregon the party serving the Subpoena has to tender a check for a fees to make the subpoena valid. (An appearance fee plus mileage - it's not a lot of money but it can add up so they may decide to not use all the subpoenas. Plus they may have to pay to have the subpoena's served.)

But the fact of the matter is that if you receive a subpoena you have to show up. The Judge will then decide if the questions you are being asked are relevant to the case. A Judge is not going to let someone use the court to do a deposition just to explore if someone has something relevant to say. There is simply not enough court time to allow that. (If you are being subpoenaed to give a deposition, then exploratory questions are allowable to find out if you have anything relevant to say.)

So your best option if you don't want to show up is file a motion to quash the subpoena. You may need an Attorney to help you but maybe all the folks who feel the same way could chip in and pay for one Attorney to challenge this.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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