If you have been sued for an unpaid credit card debt, you may receive legal documents with strange-sounding names, such as a "subpoena duces tecum for deposition." A subpoena duces tecum for deposition is a notice to appear to give deposition testimony, and to bring certain documents with you when you go. Translated literally from Latin, "subpoena duces tecum" means "under penalty to bring with you."
The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure regulate subpoenas in Florida civil litigation, such as a lawsuit to recover credit card debt. According to the rules, the lawyer for the credit card company can issue a subpoena requiring you to appear at a deposition. He must provide you with a notice that specifies the time and place for your testimony and must provide a list of the documents that he requests that you bring to the deposition. The subpoena will ask you to produce the documents so the credit card company can inspect and make copies of them.
The Rules of Civil Procedure include a process for objecting to the subpoena before the deposition takes place. If you object to producing any of the requested documents, you may prepare and serve a written objection on the credit card company. You must object promptly -- within 10 days as of the time of publication, less if the credit card company served the subpoena less than 10 days before the deposition is scheduled to take place. If you object to producing documents, you do not have to produce the documents that you objected to producing unless the credit card company gets a court order requiring you to provide them.
At the Deposition
You may also object to questions that the credit card lawyer asks you at the deposition. The lawyer who represents the credit card company may ask you questions likely to lead to evidence about the case against you and about the documents you brought with you. If the lawyer asks you deeply personal or embarrassing questions, under the Florida deposition rules, you may make a motion to end the deposition or to limit the questions the lawyer can ask you if the question are unreasonable and the lawyer asks them to annoy, embarrass or oppress you.
Consequences of Noncompliance
The consequences for disobeying a subpoena are severe. Unless you have a good reason for not appearing at your deposition and not bringing the requested documents, you must attend. If you don't attend, and if the court decides you didn't have a good reason for not attending, you may be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the subpoena.