My wife worked as a property manager for a private owner of an apartment building about 3 years ago. Her former employer has since sold the company, and the new owners are now being sued by a former tenant who lived there while my wife was the manager, although we don't know why.

She was served a subpoena by the former tenant's attorney requesting her to turn in all documents related to the case. Although she was responsible for record-keeping during the time she worked there, she does not have possession of any such documents now nor does she know who does since she is no longer employed there and the building is under new ownership. She explained as much to the attorney and we thought that would be the end of it.

She just now received an email from the attorney asking to schedule a deposition. She has already explained to the attorney that she has no information of any kind regarding the case and I do not believe she is obligated to do anything. A deposition with the attorney would be a waste of time since my wife no longer has anything to do with the apartment and has no association with the new ownership. Could she simply explain the situation again and refuse to appear at a deposition so we can end her association with this case for good?

  • If you don't know why they are suing, how can you possibly know that your wife has no relevant information?
    – Dale M
    Nov 15, 2017 at 8:34

1 Answer 1


Your wife is legally obligated to attend the deposition. If she does not attend, the Court can summarily hold her in contempt of court, issue a warrant for her arrest, and hold her in jail until a deposition can be rescheduled and held.

She can be required to answer questions under oath at the deposition for the duration shown on the subpoena, or if no duration is specified, typically for up to six or seven hours.

It is not her job to decide if it is a waste of time or not.

  • 1
    From the question, there is a subpoena for certain documents. Does the same subpoena necessarily compel the wife's testimony, or would a separate supoena be needed? It is not clear if the latter has been obtained. Nov 15, 2017 at 2:50
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    There should be a process to ask the court to quash the subpoena, right? It may be worth mentioning this. Nov 15, 2017 at 2:51
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    @NateEldredge There is a process but there is nothing in the question that suggests that there are grounds to invoke it here. The historic rule is that even in the case of a subpoena for documents only (not at all clear that this is what is being asked for) that attendance is still required so that a potential document custodian can be asked questions related to the existence or non-existence of documents in the custodians possession, custody or control under oath; subpoenas to produce documents where there is no requirement to attend even if an attorneys exist are a distinctly minority rule.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 15, 2017 at 14:13

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