Open Records and Subpoenas
The Executive Counsel for Legal Affairs serves as the University’s Custodian of Records for purposes of the Georgia Open Records Act. If you are requesting access to University records pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs. For your convenience, you may e-mail your requests to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Georgia Open Records Act requires persons requesting access to documents to compensate the University for the reasonable and necessary cost of compiling, accessing, assembling, or copying records in response to a request.
If your office or department receives a request for access to records under the Georgia Open Records Act, please contact our Legal Affairs Helpdesk right away. Because response times allowed under the Act are short, it is important to begin work on Georgia Open Record Act requests as quickly as possible.
If your office receives a Subpoena or discovery request, please contact our Legal Affairs Helpdesk right away.
A subpoena is an order of a court requiring a person to appear in court or at some other location at a particular time, and in many cases, directs the person upon whom it has been served to bring certain documents or items with him or her.
Most of the time when a subpoena is served on the University or one of its employees, it is because a party to some litigation needs to have access to documents in the University’s possession. In the majority of such cases, it is possible for the Office of Legal Affairs to interact with the court or attorney who issued the subpoena to prevent the need for the employee to attend court in person.
If a subpoena is served upon your office or department, or upon you in your capacity as a Georgia Southern employee, please contact the Office of Legal Affairs so that we can help make a response that is legally sufficient, and with the minimum of inconvenience.
Subpoenas and discovery requests, like other aspects of the litigation process, are deadline-driven. It is extremely important not to miss litigation deadlines, as courts can and do issue severe sanctions for tardy responses. Subpoenas especially are sometimes issued on short notice, and our response must be quickly made.
Another way litigants may attempt to gain access to records is through the use of discovery. Discovery is simply a set of legal procedures that allow parties to litigation to investigate the facts of a dispute prior to taking it to trial. Discovery requests take several forms, and are identified with titles similar to these:
- Request for Production of Documents
- Notice to Produce
- Notice of Deposition
Other, similar titles may appear, but in any case, the document should contain the name of the case (“Plaintiff v. Defendant”), the name of the court in which the case is being litigated, and a case number. As is the case with a subpoena, not every discovery document the University receives is valid, and the Office of Legal Affairs needs to analyze each one to determine the proper response.
Last updated: 8/26/2020