A series of articles emphasizing practical
knowledge you can't find in practice guides
and interviews with experts who share
their techniques for effective and efficient
case management

 

How To Do It: Articles, Interviews &
Practice Tips

Articles emphasizing practical knowledge you can't find in practice guides

People Who Made A Difference
Profiles of people who changed workers’ compensation law.

White Papers

Letters to the Editors

Meet the Editors
Warren Schneider
Marjory Harris


Archives

 

 

 



 


Copy services have language they use on subpoenas based on the kind of records you
order. Often that will get you the records you need. But the more specific your needs, the
more you need to specify what you want.
The records you want may be kept separate, or
access may be restricted, or they may be in different file locations. You may need special
releases [see How to Obtain Psychiatric Records]
.
Wording is Everything

At the beginning of my career, I was sent by a senior litigation partner to the Public Utilities
Commission in Los Angeles, to attend a deposition. I found lawyers for many oil companies
present, sitting around a huge conference table, while the PUC attorney questioned corporate
executives, one after the other, trying to find out what the different oil companies called
certain types of records, and in what parts of the company they were located, and who
were the people in the company who might have further information on where to find certain
types of records. All of this was in preparation for issuing subpoenas in a huge case
investigating the oil companies. I learned from that experience how important the wording is.

In most workers’ compensation cases, requests for medical records may seem pretty
straightforward. But what if you want the correspondence the adjuster sent to the medical
facility, which may or may not be in the patient's chart? Or general correspondence between
the insurance company and the medical provider network? You will need to write the
requests yourself, being very specific about what you are seeking.

Employment Records – look beyond the personnel file

Many years ago, when I was a defense attorney, a branch manager on the day of trial
pulled out a bunch of papers, and thrust them towards me with great excitement. “It’s all in
here, all of the notes I collected over the years that show what an incompetent employee he
was! I made sure they were safe by keeping them in my desk.”

The problem was, at the time we had responded to a subpoena with the personnel file,
signing under penalty of perjury that we were providing all records on that employee, I was
totally unaware that there were separate notes kept in the manager's desk. I could not put
the witness on the stand, and we had to settle for a large amount.

As employment issues become more important in the workers’ compensation litigation
process, there will be a greater need to subpoena personnel records. Make sure your
request gets into the nooks and crannies of the company. The bigger the company, the more
likely it is that there are records related to the applicant that are not in the personnel file.

Take time to do it right – it may be your only chance


Find out as much as you can, either by way of deposition or private interviews, where the
records are. When preparing your subpoena request, take the care that you would in a civil
suit when preparing requests for production or interrogatories.

See the Samples Section for some sample language to put on subpoena duces tecum
requests. Send us any sample language you have found effective, so we can add it to our
collection :MHarrisLaw@earthlink.net.

> How to Get Subpoenaed Records From Another State

 


Write the Right Request
“Any and All” May Not Be Enough
by Marjory Harris
> Write the Right request
> Sample Requests
> Psychiatric Records & Releases
> Interview with Mervin Glow
> Organizing Your Work with Excel
> Smoking Gun