2014 Formal Ethics Opinion 7: Use of North Carolina Subpoena to Obtain Documents from Foreign Entity or Individual
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At its October 24, 2014 meeting, the North Carolina State Bar released 2014 FEO 7 that rules a lawyer may provide a foreign entity or individual with a North Carolina subpoena. If a lawyer needs to obtain medical records from an individual out of state or a foreign entity, then a subpoena may be used. However, the lawyer should not mislead the recipient of their authority to require the production of documents, as it is a violation of Rule 8.4(c). Therefore, that subpoena must be accompanied with a statement or letter explaining that the subpoena is not enforceable in the foreign jurisdiction, the recipient does not have to comply with it, and the subpoena is only for record keeping purposes. This requirement remains the same even if the lawyer wants to subpoena appearance or testimony of an individual when the lawyer knows North Carolina courts do not have personal jurisdiction.