How should a company respond to Grand Jury Subpoena?
My small company just received a grand jury subpoena for documents and the grand jury subpoena seems to call for us to produce every piece of paper we ever created whether it is in hardcopy or whether it is contained on a computer, zip drive, DVD or thumb drive. What should we do?
Answer provided by:
Contact an attorney immediately. Your attorney will want to sit down with at least your IT professional and you, in order to determine the amount of what you have and whether there are permissible ways of narrowing what is required to be produced by the subpoena. He or she is likely to advise you that you need to take affirmative steps immediately to prevent the purposeful or inadvertent destruction of documents called to be produced. It can be extremely expensive to extract, examine and produce documents. Productions for small companies are rarely under $10,000 and larger companies can be made to pay millions for document handling. There are creative ways to reduce these fees while still complying with government agency demands.
So, take an example, a price fixing case in which the government suspects that the Widget Division of Jones Industries, a conglomerate, has conspired to fix widget prices. A reasonable offer to the prosecution would be to say that you will produce all of the files of the division’s manager, his immediate superior, the director of sales and marketing, as well as the five regional reps. And if you can say as well that your organization and its attorney froze all document deletion processes throughout the division and with upper management the day you received the subpoena, and you have the right to ask us for more at any time, the offer may have added credibility.
Of course, the offer should be made only if you already know what most of the files contain.