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Compensation for a subpoena

Q: "I was recently served with a subpoena to show up at a trial with my appraisal work file. I called the attorney who sent it and it turns out this lawsuit has nothing to do with me, but this guy insists that I have to be there so my appraisal of this property can be part of his case. I said I charge $250 an hour for expert work, but this attorney is telling me I am only a witness. I get paid $15 a day, plus they pay for my parking. They do not even reimburse me for the copy charges. I told this joker I was not missing a day of work for this garbage and he said he could have me arrested. Do you believe that?"

A: I am sorry to break this to you, but you are in the wrong here. A subpoena is like a court order and you have to comply...unless it is legally burdensome. It might be unfair, and a pain in the neck and not what you need right now...but it does not sound like this is legally burdensome. I am not familiar with any specific statutes in your state, but the attorney you spoke to is probably right. If you willfully ignore the subpoena, this guy could go before a judge and ask that a warrant be issued or that you be sanctioned. Whether he would actually do this probably depends on just how important your appraisal is to his case. My advice would be that you reconsider your position and comply with the terms of the subpoena.


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