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Cal Poly Pomona
Human Resource Services
Benefit
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Administrative Affairs Division
 
 
 
 

Release of University Records & Information
--Subpoenas, Summons & Complaints

There are numerous occasions when the University receives official requests for information about, or the records of, students and employees, and records of information about incidents on campus.

Although some of these requests are public records access requests, these requests often come in the form of subpoenas, summons, complaints or other orders of a court and generally require a response at a particular time and location. They also require that a special process be followed to ensure full compliance with all legal requirements.

In order to ensure compliance with these requests, the following procedure must be followed.

Procedure

In accordance with the campus administrative structure, the following individuals have been designated by the appropriate vice president as the University Records Custodian for the area indicated. A subpoena calling for production of documents should be served upon the custodian of the records requested, although if it is delivered to the department where the documents are located, that will be considered sufficient. These persons and or designees will be charged with directing and gathering the appropriate information to satisfy the request. Persons attempting to serve a subpoena or other orders of a court should be directed to one of the following offices, as appropriate:

Requests For: Delegation as Custodian of Record
Student Records and Information Vice President of Student Affairs
Faculty Personnel Records and Information Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs
Staff Personnel Records and Information Associate Vice President for Human Resource Services
Student Health Records and Information Director, Student Health Services

In all other cases and in instances where it is not possible to determine the specific subject of a request, the person attempting to serve the subpoena should be directed to University Risk Management (Valerie Eberle, CLA Building 98, Room B1-35, extension 4846).

Subpoenas

Subpoenas seek either documents or the presence of an individual, and are generally served in areas that maintain custody of records, such as Student Health Services, Admissions and Outreach, Human Resources, and Payroll Services. Valid subpoenas must be responded to in a timely manner. Subpoenas calling for a production of records should be served upon the custodian of records requested.

If Cal Poly Pomona/CSU is a party to the action indicated in the subpoena , the subpoena should be served to the Chancellor's Office and the response will be coordinated by the CSU attorney assigned to the case.

If Cal Poly Pomona/CSU is not a party to the proceeding indicated in the subpoena, the individuals indicated above as University Records Custodian for their respective areas, are responsible for coordinating the timely response to such subpoenas.

Tools for Cal Poly Pomona/CSU employees processing/responding to subpoenas:

Questions or requests for additional information should be directed to University Risk Management, extension 4846.

Summons and Complaints

The following procedures deal solely with summons and complaints, not with subpoenas.

A summons and complaint is the document that begins a legal action. Summons and complaints will come from either a state court or a federal court and will be served either by mail or in person. They should be handled as follows:

1. State Courts:

A. Service by Mail

The summons will be accompanied by a form called NOTICE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SERVICE. The summons and complaint and the notice and acknowledgment of service, unsigned*, are to be sent to the General Counsel's Office immediately with a note indicating on what date and by whom they were received. In addition to the General Counsel's Office, a copy of all correspondence needs to be immediately forwarded to Risk Management Services, CLA Building 98, Room B1-35.

* The Attorney General's Office advises agencies not to sign these forms. The complaint will be forwarded from the General Counsel's Office to person selected as trial counsel, where the acknowledgment forms will be signed.

B. Personal Service

Complaints may be addressed either to the Trustees of the California State University, the University, to an individual, or to all three. In a proper service, only one entity or party is served for each copy of the summons, as it must designate the capacity with which a person is being served.

(1) Where Service is Attempted on the Trustees

No one on the campus has authority to accept service for the Trustees. If the person who serves the process is attempting to make service on the Trustees, that person may be informed that the person being addressed has no authority to accept service on behalf of the Trustees and that proper service must be made in accordance with the Government Code. In addition, service may be made at the General Counsel's Office of The California State University. (See Government Code Section 955.4, which calls for service of complaints on the Attorney General's Office.)

(2) Where Service is Attempted on State University

Cal Poly Pomona is not a legal entity, therefore it does not have the capacity to be sued. However, many people incorrectly address summons and complaints to the campus. The person attempting service should be informed that service must conform with the Government Code, i.e., served on the Attorney General's Office or, as an alternative, the General Counsel's Office.

(3) Service on an Individual

A named individual is properly served if he or she is given a copy of the summons and complaint.

In any case, the summons and complaint should be mailed to the General Counsel's Office immediately, along with a note stating the details of the service, i.e. date of service, to whom served (and a copy of the correspondence needs to be submitted directly to Cal Poly Pomona's Risk Management Services Department). Either then or after consultation with the General Counsel's Office, any individuals named in the caption of the action and served will be asked to make a written request for defense by the Attorney General. Please contact Risk Management Services, CLA Building 98, Room B1-35, for information on how to make the written request. Please alert the General Counsel's Office promptly if an action against an employee may involve fraud, corruption, or malice by the employee, or if the action relates to activities unrelated to the person's State University employment.

2. Federal Court (United States District Court)

A. Service by Mail

The same procedures as specified in 1.A. above should be followed.

B. Personal Service

The federal court has a form of notice and acknowledgment of receipt of summons and complaint that is also used where there is personal service. That form asks for the signature of the receiving party, his or her relationship to the entity, and authority to receive service of process. Following the same procedure as outlined in 1.B., no one at the campus has authority to accept on behalf of the Trustees. The lack of authority would be noted on the form given to the server, and all of the documents should be sent to the General Counsel's Office immediately.

Often a complaint is received which is puzzling, or difficult to understand. This is particularly the case where a plaintiff is not represented by legal counsel. You should not delay transmitting the summons and complaint to the General Counsel's Office during the investigation; any investigation that is to be made of the facts of a complaint should be made after the summons and complaint has been forwarded to that office. This will assist the attorneys in securing timely representation.

§ 955.4. Service of summons generally; defense by attorney general

Except as provided in Sections 955.6 and 955.8:

(a) Service of summons in all actions on claims against the State shall be made on the Attorney General.
(b) The attorney General shall defend all actions on claims against the State. (Added by State, 1968, c. 1715, p. 3383, §2.)

Law Revision Commission Comment

This section is the same in substance as Government Code [former] Section 649, except that [former] Section 649 requires service on both the Governor and the Attorney General.