Monday, September 24, 2007

Foothill Fed. Credit Union v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 24, 2007)

Ever get a records subpoena? Feel like totally violating it? Maybe to disclose tons of private, sensitive financial information that's not even requested by the subpoena? Or even producing documents even after the consumer has objected to the request, thereby violating the command of CCP 1985.3 that requires you not to disclosure after such an objection?

Go right ahead. You can't be sued. Litigation privilege.

This basically removes any constraint whatsoever on the ability of a subpoenaed party to do deliberate -- or reckless/negligent -- harm in response to a subpoena. And makes a mockery of the obligations ostensibly imposed by CCP 1985.3, as they are entirely unenforceable.

Mind you, the majority seems to somewhat recognize that fact, albeit in the guise of refuting it. And Justice Johnson helpfully writes a persuasive concurrence that calls upon the Legislature to modify CCP 1985.3 so as to provide means through it may be effective enforced.

But, after this opinion, there's absolutely no reason why a subpoenaed party should protect the consumer or other records of a party. Give 'em up early. Give more than is required. Produce even in the presence of a binding objection. Doesn't matter. For now, at least, you're absolutely immune.