Must you go to court when subpoenaed as a witness?


Must you go to court when subpoenaed as a witness?


Tom Olsen: Bill, you are on News 96.5. We're in.

Bill: Good morning. I'm providing a professional service, I'm a real estate appraiser. About a year and a half ago I was contracted by an attorney to do an appraisal on a home for dissolution of marriage. Well, apparently the homeowner has gone to another attorney and I received the summons to appear in court and to bring my files relative to this service I provided but this attorney is not my client. I'm wondering what my obligations are because I think I have a confidentiality agreement with my original attorney-client and I am accustomed to being paid $200 an hour to testify in court. I do it frequently. What are my responsibilities and what do I have to do here? Because I've tried to contact the attorney and they will not get back with me.

Tom: Bill, I'm not going to be able to give you an exact answer there but first of all, you were hired by an attorney to do an appraisal for his client. That does not put you in an attorney-client relationship with that attorney.

Bill: With the old attorney or the new one?

Tom: With the old attorney. You were just hired to do a job. You're not a client of that attorney.

Bill: Okay, fair enough.

Tom: Number two, I think as far as the subpoena is concerned to show up for a deposition or to show up for trial you're not entitled to but anything but 10 Bucks and some mileage, a few cents. [crosstalk] I hate to say it, Bill, but as far as I know, that's the best I get for you.

Bill: Okay. If you don't mind, one more very quick question. An attorney, not mine, suggested they could file a protective order so that I would not have to go. Is that a possibility or is that just not correct?

Tom: Well, I'm sure such a thing might be available but what would be the basis for your protective order that you're busy or you don't want to come [unintelligible 00:02:01]

Bill: Essentially, yes.

Tom: Just out of curiosity if you hired a lawyer to do that for you how much would he or she charge?

Bill: For my services?

Tom: No, for the protective order.

Bill: Plus 500. More than probably what is going to cost me to go.

Tom: Yes, that's the bottom line, Bill.

Bill: Yes, I get that but I just wanted to check.

Tom: Bill, I think you're stuck with it and all I can say is that you can go there. Are they taking your deposition? Is that it for or is it [unintelligible 00:02:34]?

Bill: No, it's actually for dissolution hearing.

Tom: They don't even know what you're going to say in court at this moment in time.

Bill: They have no idea. I understand that my appraisal is here-say evidence without me there to cross-examine but, yes, my memory is going to be [laughs] a bit vague [unintelligible 00:02:50]

Tom: Sketchy, yes. Well, I mean, the sad part about it, Bill, you're probably going to show up. They're going to make you wait around for a couple of three hours and then they're going to walk and tell you, "By the way, we settled it, Bill. You can go home."

Bill: It happens nine out of ten times. [crosstalk]

Tom: That's the cost of doing business in this situation. [crosstalk]

Bill: Well, I appreciate that advice.

Tom: Good luck to you. Bye-bye.