How to Subpoena Records in Workers’ Compensation Cases

Posted by Tentinger Law Firm

Similar to civil lawsuits, subpoenas may be issued in Minnesota workers’ compensation cases too. The ability to subpoena records is a powerful tool used by litigators to help support their claims or defenses. The following is a brief overview instructing the reader on how to subpoena records in their workers’ compensation cases in Minnesota.

How are subpoenas for records in Workers’ Compensation cases procured?

 Subpoenas in workers compensation cases are issued by a compensation judge. Minnesota Statute § 176.351  grants a compensation judge, before whom a workers’ compensation hearing is held, the power to issue subpoenas for the production of such books, papers, records, and documents as are important and necessary in the claim. Requests for subpoenas for the production of documents, either at the hearing or for the purpose of discovery, must be made in writing to the compensation judge. In practice, this is accomplished by sending the judge a cover letter and proposed subpoena for the judge’s signature. The cover letter to the judge must contain a brief statement demonstrating the potential relevance of the evidence sought and identify any documents sought with specificity. The letter must also include the full name and home or business address of all persons to be subpoenaed and, if known, the date, time, and place for responding to the subpoena. All parties of record should be copied on the letter and proposed subpoena.

Does notice need to be sent out to all counsel?

Service of a subpoena in workers’ compensation hearings is governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure for the District Courts of Minnesota. Therefore, a subpoena commanding the production of documents must be served on all other parties of record and at least seven days before the required production. Failure to provide notice is improper and may subject the party or attorney issuing it, or on whose behalf it was issued, sanctions.

If so, how many days do they have to object to the subpoena?

Any person served with a subpoena who has an objection to it may file an objection with the Judge. The objection must be filed promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance. In practice, objection must be made prior to the required time for compliance.

Does anything need to be filed with the courts? If so, when?

In general nothing needs to be filed with the OAH. The person serving the subpoena is not required to make proof of service by filing the subpoena with the judge. Because the subpoena was issued by a workers compensation judge, a copy is already on file. However, a filing with an affidavit of service is required if any motion is filed seeking an order for sanctions for failure to comply with the subpoena.