I am a Pro-Se Plaintiff in civil personal injury case against Walmart where I was badly injured. Since beginning of 2018 I am not able to receive subpoenas and Open Records from Atlanta Federal Court. Clerks by direction of the Judge counted my Requests for Public Open Records as a Motion and Judge Denied my requests. Also all my requests for subpoenas also were denied by the Judge. Judge also denied my Motion to Compel and Motion to extend the discovery period, but I need to gather information for the Trial. What I can do?

  • 5
    Hire a lawyer. For a personal injury case, you ought to be able to find a lawyer who will work on contingency.
    – phoog
    Sep 20 '19 at 19:50
  • 1
    Start caring about details and the subtle stuff to a level you have not before. Judges will help pro-se litigants a little... but if you drunk-stumble your way through the legal process and expect everyone to help you out, opposing counsel will help you fail, and you'll get on the judge's last nerve right quick. In other words, if you carry on as if lawyers don't need 8 years of law school for this, expect people who did spend 8 years to get a bit offended! Short answer: smash your TV and live 24x7 at the law library. Sep 21 '19 at 6:28
  • No, sell the TV for a book on legal procedure.
    – user6726
    Sep 22 '19 at 1:43
  • @Harper my experiance is that judges will be tolerant (to a point) of pro-se litigants but they can't "help" them - that would be bias. Court registrars are very helpful with respect to procedure but the can't and won't give legal advice.
    – Dale M
    Sep 25 '19 at 0:53

The simplest solution is to hire an attorney to do this for you. If you want to do it the hard way, you need to try to figure out why your motions were denied. For example, did you file proper motions, or did you just write on a piece of paper "I need all of Walmart's records"? Why do you think that a court will / should supply you with an Open Record (of what)? A real lawsuit is not like Judge Judy where you tell your story and hope the judge has sympathy on your plight. Did the judge say / write anything about why he is denying your requests?


Follow the rules

Every court has their rules of civil procedure- if you don’t follow them you don’t get what you want. In addition, rules of evidence specify what is and is not admissible (and therefore subject to subpoena). The biggest one is relevance; you can only ask for information that is relevant to your case and you must identify what you want with adequate specificity - “give me everything relevant to my case” won’t fly.

Knowing how to make these motions is what you hire your lawyer for, just like knowing how to do surgery is what you hire your surgeon for. Most people can gain these skills given time and effort but in the middle of a case (or surgery) is not the best circumstance for doing so. Just like with surgery, litigation rarely gives you second chances if you stuff up.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.