What does my architecture/engineering firm do when we receive a subpoena? A subpoena doesn’t mean your firm has been named in a claim. Most times when a subpoena is received, they are requesting documents from your firm as it relates to a specific project.
If your firm receives a subpoena, it is suggested that this is reported to the insurance company. Depending on the insurance policy and the situation they may be able to provide assistance.
Some insurance policies have subpoena assistance that looks like the following:
(C) Subpoena Assistance Coverage
If, during the Policy Period, an Insured receives a subpoena for documents or testimony as a fact witness arising from a Professional Service which occurred on or after the Retroactive Date, and the Insured requests the Insurer’s assistance, then the Insurer will appoint an attorney to represent the Insured regarding the production of documents, to prepare the Insured for sworn testimony, and to represent the Insured at their deposition provided that:
- the subpoena arises out of a lawsuit or other legal proceeding to which the Insured is not a party and
- the Insured has not been engaged to provide advice or testimony in connection with the lawsuit and the Insured has not been engaged to provide such advice or testimony in the past.
Regardless of the number of subpoenas received or the number of individuals receiving subpoenas, the maximum limit for this coverage is set forth on the Declarations. This amount will not be included in (and shall not reduce) the Limits of Liability.
In some cases, the insurance company may provide assistance under a pre-claims assistance. Again, this will depend on the insurance companies’ policy that your firm is insured with. The bottom line is always report to your agent or insurance company if your firm has received a subpoena.
If you have questions with regards to subpoenas, please call or email your Professional Underwriters agent for assistance.