Legal Claims and Lawsuits
The University occasionally is named as a defendant in a lawsuit or as a respondent in an administrative proceeding or other external complaint process. After a complaint has been filed in court or with an administrative tribunal, the plaintiff or complaining party must provide the University with notice of the lawsuit by serving a copy of the complaint upon the University. This action is called "service of process" and normally is accomplished by hand-delivery of a summons and complaint to the University by a "process-server". A complaint is a document that generally sets forth the allegations in the case and is filed with a court or administrative tribunal to commence a legal action. A summons is an order to appear in court.
All process-servers must be directed to the General Counsel's Office where the General Counsel or a member of the legal staff will sign for the summons and complaint and ensure that the lawsuit is appropriately assigned and handled. University faculty and staff are not authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the University.
Subpoenas, Summons, Court Orders or Requests for Information
The Office of the General Counsel provides legal services for University related matters and advice in responding to subpoenas, summonses and court orders requiring either the personal appearance of a University employee for testimony relating to employment at the University or the production of University documents or records. Service of process of subpoenas, summonses, court orders or any other legal process should be served upon the Office of the General Counsel, telephone number (239) 590-1101. If process is not served upon the Office of the General Counsel, the procedure outlined below must be followed. It should be noted that, for those cases where the University is not a party, service of subpoenas for academic records should ideally be served upon the University Registrar, and service of subpoena for employment records should ideally be served upon the Director of Human Resources.
If process is not served on the OGC, the following procedures should be followed:
- Subpoenas - Subpoenas should be immediately forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel, with the date received by the individual or department indicated on the document. Please hand deliver or transmit the subpoena by facsimile (239) 590-7470 or by e-mail to email@example.com and call (239) 590-1101 to confirm receipt by the Office of the General Counsel. Please note that the University is bound to follow privacy and confidentiality safeguards imposed by federal and state laws in certain instances prior to the release or disclosure of any records.
- Court Orders/Summonses - University employees receiving a court order, summons or notification that a lawsuit has been filed against them (for actions taken in the course and within the scope of their job) or the University must immediately forward the original court order, summons or notification to the Office of the General Counsel with the date received by the individual or department indicated on the document. Please hand deliver or transmit the document via facsimile (239) 590-7470 to the Office of the General Counsel and call (239) 590-1101 to confirm receipt.
- Written Communications - The recipient of letters, correspondence or other communications from lawyers, court officials or the general public should acknowledge receipt and indicate that the letter will be forwarded to the Office of the General Counsel for response. Any and all written communications requesting employment information or records relating to a current or former employee should be directed to the Human Resources Department. The recipient should forward the letter (with the date received by the individual or department indicated on the letter) to the Office of the General Counsel immediately and call (239) 590-1101 to confirm receipt.