Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 837
Infrastructure 201 I
“Subpeona Duces Tecum”
Complaince reviews are stratified. First I get to see what you send and if you can follow directions. Then I get to see if you are “abdicating” your practice to someone who has no “stake” in your practice… your staff (CA, Office Manager, secretary, etc) by sending information without double checking it. I also get to know if you want to blame everyone else for your lack of attention to detail and then…after all of that, do I consider doing a compliance review. In the past, I was very lenient with sloppy paper submission until I spoke to 200,000 lawyers and it finally sunk into my THICK HEAD. It matters and your reputation is at stake.
Lawyers live and die for YOUR paperwork and if they are not getting what is requested, they strongly consider NOT working with you because you have branded yourself careless, unprofessional and not an expert they want to have a relationship with! Bascially, if your first impression on paper submission is horrible, they will be kind, respectful and never say a word beacause they NEED your documents to prevail… but behind closed doors, they are trashing you to their staff and colleagues as a typical “loser doctor.” This is not specific to chiropractic, you get put in the trash with the rest of the medical doctors they hate to work with also.
I have witnessed at large gatherings of lawyers the trashing of a doctor’s repuation because their paperwork is horrible, deficient or incomplete. To the lawyer, they are all one and the same.
A “Subpoena Duces Tecum” (see full explanation below) is a very common request that is MANDATORY you follow because it is a court order and if not responded to, you can be held in contempt of court. You MUST supply the documents. The subpoena comes from both plaintiff and defense lawyers, but must be adhered to strictly.
Subpoena Duces Tecum
A subpoena duces tecum is a court order requiring the person named in it to produce certain books, papers, or other tangible things for the court. In some U.S. states, this type of subpoena is known as a “subpoena for the production of evidence.”
A subpoena duces tecum differs from a standard subpoena, also known as a “subpoena ad testificandum,” because the subpoena duces tecum does not require the person named in it to give oral testimony, either in a deposition or at trial. Instead, the subpoena duces tecum only orders the person to produce the items named in the document.
Usually, these items are documents, like books, medical records, deeds of ownership, or other papers or computer files containing information that applies to a particular court case. However, a subpoena duces tecum can be used to order the production of any tangible object. For instance, suppose that in a products liability case, the defective product that injured the plaintiff had been taken to a repair shop. If the repair shop refuses to give up the item of its own free will when asked, a subpoena duces tecum can be sent ordering the repair shop to deliver the item within a particular period of time or face court penalties.
Traditionally, a subpoena duces tecum required a person to deliver the items listed in the subpoena to the court where the case was being heard. Today, however, a subpoena duces tecum is more likely to require the items to be delivered to the offices of the attorney that drafted the subpoena. Most U.S. states allow attorneys to draft subpoenas, for both items and testimony, in their capacity as officers of the court.
Whether the items are to be delivered to an attorney or to the court, however, the subpoena duces tecum will generally include a date, time, and place for delivery. Some subpoena duces tecum contain a deadline, and the person named in the subpoena is expected to deliver the items by that date or face penalties. Others, however, contain a particular date, time, and place to which the person must show up with the documents.
Because of the critical nature of the handling of documents, both in legal and reputation consequences, I am toughening my stance on document requests to get you to see the full ramifications of your actions. I will NOT do a compliance review if the documents you submitted are incorrect, nor will I tell you why. You must figure it out and get it right. If you gave the responsibility to your staff and they got it wrong, then your staff can’t meet the needs of your practice and you either need to retrain or replace them. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link and that might be your staff and this is one way of finding out.
This is one area where you need to pay “exquisite attention to detail” because 99% perfect is not perfect and will injure your reputation. It is too easy to get it right… Get it right!!!
Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
Academy of Chiropractic
US Chiropractic Directory