Acceptance of Summons, Complaints and Subpoenas (Policy 1.012)

Authority:F.S. 48.031; 1001.63; 1001.65
Date Adopted:4/20 
Date of Revision(s):

Policy 

  1. Only persons specified in this Policy may accept service of summons, complaints, and subpoenas on behalf of the College. College faculty and staff must exercise caution when presented with any document related to legal actions or lawsuits involving the College or its employees.  Failure to appropriately handle summons, complaints, or subpoenas may place the College and the employee at risk or disadvantage in legal proceedings, or may subject the College or employee to legal liability.   Failure to follow this Policy may be cause for discipline against College employees.
  2. The following definitions apply to this Policy:
    1. Summons – a legal document that notifies an individual or entity that a lawsuit has commenced and that the individual or entity served must respond to the complaint.
    2. Complaint – a legal document that sets forth the claim(s) in a lawsuit and the relief being sought by the plaintiff in that lawsuit.
    3. Subpoena – An order issued by a court or attorney for the production of records or for a person to appear at a deposition or in court.
    4. Process server – a person authorized by statute, court, or other legal authority to serve summons, complaints, and subpoenas on third parties.
    5. College attorneys - The General Counsel, Associate General Counsel(s), or any other licensed attorney employed by the College in the Office of Legal Affairs under the supervision of the General Counsel from time to time, regardless of official title.
  3. In accordance with Florida law, the proper party in interest for all lawsuits naming the College as a defendant is “The District Board of Trustees of Seminole State College of Florida.”  In all suits against the District Board of Trustees, service of process shall be made on the chair of the board of trustees or, in the absence of the chair, the President or designee of the chair.
  4. The chair hereby designates that the College attorneys may accept service of summonses and complaints on behalf of the District Board of Trustees in the following situations:
    1. When only the District Board of Trustees is the party named in a summons and complaint, the process server shall be referred to the Office of Legal Affairs so that College attorneys may accept service of process on behalf of the District Board of Trustees.  Only the College attorneys are designated to accept service of process.   
    2. When an employee named in their official capacity is named as party in a summons and complaint, the employee shall only accept service of the summons and complaint on their own behalf.  Service shall be made on the District Board of Trustees as stated in this Policy if the board is also listed as a party.  
    3. When an employee is the only party named in a summons or complaint and is not named in their official capacity, the College shall not accept service and the employee must be served individually.
  5. The chair hereby designates that the College attorneys may accept service of subpoenas on behalf of the District Board of Trustees in the following circumstances:
    1. Process servers with subpoenas for College records (including student or employee records), regardless of the location of those records, shall be directed to the Office of Legal Affairs so that College attorneys may accept service of process. Other than as provided above, only the College attorneys may accept service of subpoenas.
    2. If an employee is served with a subpoena for testimony in their capacity as an employee or agent of the College, that employee must provide a copy of the subpoena to the Office of Legal Affairs.
    3. If an employee is served with a subpoena for testimony in their individual capacity and not as an employee or agent of the College, the employee shall personally accept service on their own behalf without involving the College.

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