Next Page>>

1000 DFPS Subpoena Policy

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

A subpoena is a command from the court to appear or produce material. See 1100 Definitions under subpoena. This policy explains the procedures to be followed when a party:

  •  seeks information for the purpose of serving a DFPS employee or the custodian of records with a subpoena; or

  •  has served a DFPS employee or custodian of records with a subpoena.

Subpoenas are a common tool used in litigation, so it is not uncommon for DFPS employees to be served with subpoenas.

This policy ensures that subpoenas are handled properly, consistently, and as efficiently as possible.

It is DFPS policy to ensure that:

  •  a subpoena is properly served;

  •  a subpoena is correctly routed; and

  •  the requirements of a subpoena are fulfilled.

Failure to respond to a subpoena appropriately and in a timely manner can result in serious legal consequences for DFPS, DFPS staff, or a client. An employee’s failure to follow DFPS policies and procedures may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

1100 Definitions

DFPS Subpoena Policy August 2015

Contact Card for Customer Support

The Customer Support Office (CSO) of the DFPS Records Management Group (RMG) provides contact information about DFPS employees so subpoenas may be served. The contact card is a business card that may be obtained at each front desk in every DFPS office that receives the public. It provides the contact information for the Customer Support Office. See also 1341 Customer Support Office (DSO).

DFPS Contact Card

Immediately

For the purposes of this policy the word immediately is used to mean as soon as possible, but no later than one hour.

Process Server (or Server)

A process server is a person authorized to serve a subpoena. The process server is required to hand the subpoena to the person named in the subpoena. The server is not allowed to deliver the subpoena indirectly; for example, by dropping it on a desk or handing it to someone else.

Receptionist

The receptionist is the person who greets visitors to a DFPS building and attempts to help them with the business they have in the building. How visitors are greeted at DFPS offices varies across the state.

A DFPS building may have:

  •  full-time receptionists;

  •  administrative support staff or security personnel who cover the front desk in shifts;

  •  volunteers who greet visitors; or

  •  employees from another Health and Human Services agency who greet the public (for example, when DFPS shares a building with another agency).

The procedures in this policy are designed to work with the standard procedures that each building already has in place regarding how visitors are greeted at that building and how they are directed to the person they seek.

Teleworking

Telework is an arrangement that allows employees to work offsite on a regular basis, either from home or another assigned duty point. Telework is also known as telecommuting. See Telework Policy HR-1122 on the DFPS intranet.

Regional Subpoena Mailbox

Every region has an electronic mailbox designated for subpoenas that is monitored and used exclusively by Legal Services staff in that region. The only exception is that the Statewide Intake Division uses the mailbox designated for Region 07.

The mailboxes are monitored during business hours and have a standard naming convention in the Global Address List within the Outlook e-mail system.

The standard naming convention is DFPS Region ## Subpoenas, with ## being the two-digit number representing the region (for example, DFPS Region 04 Subpoenas for the Tyler region, and DFPS Region 10 Subpoenas for the El Paso region).

Subpoena

A subpoena is a legal document that commands a person or entity to appear at a particular time and place to testify as a witness (at a deposition, trial, or other hearing) or to produce documents or other tangible objects in a legal proceeding, or both. A subpoena is equivalent to a direct order from a court. Subpoenas are time-sensitive documents with court-imposed deadlines.

In general, there are three types of subpoenas:

1.   appearance only, requiring only the personal attendance of a witness;

2.   records only, requiring only the production of documents, and not a witness; and

3.   appearance and records, requiring both the personal attendance of a witness and the production of documents.

A subpoena can be served for either a civil or criminal matter.

1200 Custodian of Records (COR)

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

A subpoena often is simply addressed to the custodian of records and requests that the custodian provide and authenticate all of the records identified in the subpoena.

Because of the number of records that DFPS creates and maintains, no single individual can serve as the custodian of records for all subpoenas received statewide.

The Records Management Group (RMG) is responsible for the storage, retrieval, redaction, release, and, ultimately, the destruction of records. The center, division, or program that created the records is responsible for authenticating and testifying about the records.

A subpoena that is for both a specifically named employee and the custodian of records is handled as a subpoena that specifically names an employee.

See:

1210 The APS Custodian of Records

1220 The CCL Custodian of Records

1230 The CPS Custodian of Records

1240 The SWI Custodian of Records

1210 The APS Custodian of Records

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The Adult Protective Services (APS) employee who is assigned to function as the custodian of records (COR) depends on who is named in the subpoena.

If the subpoena …

then …

specifically names a current APS employee …

the APS employee named in the subpoena is the COR.

specifically names a former APS employee …

no COR is assigned.

The named person cannot serve because he or she is no longer an APS employee. For direction in such a case, see the table in 2210 Greeting a Process Server Who Delivers a Subpoena in Person.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records on an OPEN APS case, or seeks records on a specific client involved in an OPEN APS case …

the current APS caseworker for the open case is the COR.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records on a CLOSED APS case, or seeks records on a specific client involved in a CLOSED APS case …

the most recent APS caseworker for the closed case is the COR.

If that caseworker is no longer employed by APS, the supervisor of the unit that handled the case is assigned as the COR.

If the unit no longer exists, the program administrator:

  •  designates a staff person as the COR; or

  •  serves as the COR.

If anything prevents the program administrator from designating someone as the COR or serving as the COR, the regional director:

  •  designates a staff person as the COR; or

  •  serves as the COR.

1220 The CCL Custodian of Records

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The Child Care Licensing (CCL) employee who is assigned to function as the custodian of records (COR) depends on who is named in the subpoena.

If the subpoena …

then …

specifically names a current CCL employee …

the CCL employee named in the subpoena is the COR.

specifically names a former CCL employee …

no COR is assigned.

The named person cannot serve as the COR because he or she is no longer a CCL employee. For direction in such a case, see the table in 2210 Greeting a Process Server Who Delivers a Subpoena in Person.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records on an OPEN CCL case, or seeks records on a specific client involved in an OPEN CCL case …

the current licensing representative is the COR, unless only an investigation record is sought, and then the current investigator is the COR.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records on a CLOSED CCL case, or seeks records on a specific client involved in a CLOSED CCL case …

the most recent licensing representative or investigator is the COR.

If that licensing representative or investigator is no longer employed by CCL, the supervisor of the unit that handled the case or investigation is assigned as the COR.

If the unit no longer exists, the program administrator for daycare or the manager for residential care, as appropriate:

  •  designates a staff person as the COR; or

  •  serves as the COR.

If anything prevents the program administrator or manager from designating someone as COR or serving as the COR, the district director of daycare field operations or the director of residential field operations:

  •  designates an appropriate staff person; or

  •  serves as the COR.

1230 The CPS Custodian of Records

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The Child Protective Services (CPS) employee who is assigned to function as the custodian of records (COR) depends on who is named in the subpoena.

If the subpoena …

then …

specifically names a current CPS employee …

the employee named in the subpoena is the COR.

specifically names a former CPS employee …

no COR is assigned.

The named person cannot serve as the COR because he or she is no longer a CPS employee. For direction in such a case, see the table in 2210 Greeting a Process Server Who Delivers a Subpoena in Person.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records on an OPEN CPS case, or seeks records on a specific client involved in an OPEN CPS case …

the current caseworker is the COR.

  •  is addressed only to Custodian of Records; and

  •  seeks the records on a CLOSED CPS case, or seeks records on a specific client involved in an CLOSED CPS case …

the most recent caseworker is the COR.

If that caseworker is no longer employed by CPS, the supervisor of the unit that handled the case is assigned as the COR.

If the unit no longer exists, the program director:

  •  designates a staff person as the COR; or

  •  serves as the COR.

If anything prevents the program director from designating someone as COR or serving as the COR, the program administrator:

  •  designates an appropriate staff person; or

  •  serves as the COR.

If anything prevents the program director from designating someone as COR or serving as COR, the regional director:

  •  designates an appropriate staff person as the COR; or

  •  serves as the COR.

1240 The SWI Custodian of Records

DFPS Subpoena Policy March 2017

The Statewide Intake (SWI) employee who is assigned to function as the custodian of records (COR) depends on who is named in the subpoena.

If the subpoena …

then …

specifically names a  current SWI employee.

The named employee consults with the intake supervisor group:

  •  The supervisor reviews the subpoena to determine what is being requested and if it pertains directly to SWI intake activities or to casework that was performed when the employee worked in the field. 

  •  The supervisor then emails a copy of the subpoena to the DFPS Region 07 Subpoenas mailbox with the following instructions:

  •  The employee, the employees’ supervisor, and the supervisor’s program administrator are all CC’d on the email.

  •  If the subpoena is related to intake activities, the subject of the email includes the phrase, “SWI Related.”

specifically names a former SWI employee …

no COR is assigned

The named person cannot serve as the COR because he or she is no longer a DFPS employee. For direction in such a case, see the table in 2210 Greeting a Process Server Who Delivers a Subpoena in Person.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records for a case closed at the intake stage and not forwarded to another DFPS program or division as outlined in Statewide Intake policy.

the records management officer (RMO) or designee:

  •  serves as the initial custodian of records; and

  •  determines whether the information is available.

If available: the RMO works with a member of the DFPS Statewide Intake Program Improvement Division to facilitate the processing of the request.

If not available: the RMO notifies the requesting attorney seeking this information.

1250 The COR for All Other Centers or Divisions

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The DFPS employee who is assigned to function as the custodian of records (COR) depends on who is named in the subpoena.

If the subpoena …

then …

specifically names a  current DFPS employee.

the current DFPS employee named in the subpoena is the COR.

specifically names a former DFPS employee …

no COR is assigned

The named person cannot serve as the COR because he or she is no longer a DFPS employee. For direction in such a case, see the table in 2210 Greeting a Process Server Who Delivers a Subpoena in Person.

  •  is addressed only to the custodian of records; and

  •  seeks the records from a program or division that is not named above, or seeks records on a specific client involved in a program or division that is not named above

the records management officer or designee:

  •  serves as the initial custodian of records; and

  •  works with DFPS legal staff to identify the most appropriate person to represent the department at any hearing.

1300 DFPS Staff Responsibilities

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

All DFPS employees are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and carrying out any specific responsibilities listed in the following items. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

See:

1310 All staff

1320 Accounts Receivable

1330 Legal Staff

1331 Attorneys

1332 Legal Support Staff

1340 The Records Management Group (RMG)

1341 Customer Support Office (CSO)

1342 Records and Imaging Office (RIO)

1343 Entitlement and Redaction Office (ERO)

1310 All Staff

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

All staff are required to carry out all of the applicable procedures explained in 2000 DFPS Subpoena Procedures.

1320 Accounts Receivable

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The staff of the Accounts Receivable office in the DFPS Finance Department:

  •  receive the subpoena-related payments that often accompany subpoenas; and

  •  deposit the payments accordingly.

See 2500 When a Payment Is Received With a Subpoena.

1330 Legal Staff

1331 Attorneys

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

DFPS attorneys:

  •  assess all subpoenas received;

  •  consult with the party or attorney who subpoenas DFPS staff and records;

  •  file appropriate motions to protect DFPS’s staff and records;

  •  advise and represent DFPS staff in the fulfillment of a subpoena’s requirements; and

  •  consult, as needed, with district or county attorneys who represent DFPS.

1332 Legal Support Staff

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

Legal support staff in each region:

  •  check the region’s subpoena mailbox frequently each day (in 1100 Definitions see Regional Subpoena Mailbox);

  •  forward new subpoenas to the designated attorney for review;

  •  conduct research in order to request records, if necessary; and

  •  coordinate with staff on subpoena-related matters, as directed.

1340 The Records Management Group (RMG)

1341 Customer Support Office (CSO)

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The customer support specialists in the Customer Support Office (CSO):

  •  identify the custodian of records for DFPS cases (see 1200 Custodian of Records); and

  •  provide contact information on DFPS employees for persons and organizations outside of DFPS who seek to issue and serve a subpoena.

1342 Records and Imaging Office (RIO)

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

Staff of the Records and Imaging Office (RIO) provide assistance to DFPS staff by:

  •  researching case records; and

  •  providing case records upon request.

1343 Entitlement and Redaction Office (ERO)

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The entitlement and redaction specialists in the Entitlement and Redaction Office (ERO):

  •  review and confirm a party’s entitlement to DFPS case records; and

  •  provide releasable copies of the records to those who are entitled.

 

Next Page>>