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Third-Party Warrants and Subpoenas

Whether the Department of Justice is investigating allegations of criminal wrongdoing or a private party is trying to prove its case in civil litigation, often there is an attempt to get information from third-parties, such as relatives, employers, internet service providers, cloud computing companies and email hosting operations.

This is usually done through a subpoena or, sometimes in criminal cases, a warrant. Often, it is in the best interest of the party holding the information to challenge the warrant or subpoena. There might be a variety of reasons to resist, such as legal compliance, avoiding litigation exposure, preserving customer relationships, protecting intellectual property and ethical purposes. Indeed, many third parties believe that they are duty bound to protect the privacy of their customers. Others might be focused on minimizing the cost associated with compliance.

When it comes to electronically stored information, the government is becoming increasingly aggressive in attempting to force tech companies to turn over users’ private information through forced decryption or other invasive methods. Sometimes they are using grand jury subpoenas, warrants under the Stored Communication Act, Pen Register and Trap and Trace Device (Pen/Trap) orders, and even orders under the All Writs Act, which was originally adopted in 1789.

Often, these requests raise important statutory and constitutional concerns, including privacy and free speech issues (among others). The lawyers at Harvey & Binnall are experienced in litigating and resisting orders and requests under these and other statutes. They understand that many people and companies that safeguard the private data of customers believe that they have an important duty to safeguard privacy and they are proud to fight against government overreach and intrusion.

Third parties who receive warrants or subpoenas should contact legal counsel promptly to learn of their legal responsibilities and their options if they want to resist producing documents and information. We are proud to represent third-parties when they receive warrants and subpoenas in cases nationwide. Depending on the specific situation, we can advise clients of their rights and obligations, limit the scope of the production, seek to shift the costs of production to the party seeking the information and even take court action to avoid a production entirely.