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Subpoena Response Cost Reimbursement:

What are Other Companies Charging?

Safari provides a system for subpoena response, including collection of response cost reimbursement from serving parties. Every day, we talk with companies about how they handle subpoena cost reimbursement: their policies, practices, and how much they charge. We’ve assembled some FAQs and tips from the companies that have the greatest success in recovering reimbursement.
NOTE: this document primarily contemplates “routine” subpoenas—meaning those that call for objectively identifiable information. Examples include account statements, employee records, transactional information, or video. This document is not a discussion of either eDiscovery process or the law applicable to cost-shifting motions.
What are the rules?

Sometimes we hear from companies that hesitate to ask for reimbursement without conducting a 50-state survey of applicable rules. At last count, 15 state rules specifically require the requesting party to pay the reasonable cost of response.

The challenge, though, is that a fifty-state survey of civil rules doesn’t begin to account for every variable that might apply—for example, the type of proceeding, vertical-specific provision, type of requestor, or type of record.

Here's a place to start: for private-party subpoenas, commit to comply and ask that the requestor voluntarily reimburse your response cost. If your cost to comply were $100,000, you’d start by asking the requesting party to pay. Why not do the same when your cost is $100?

What if someone objects?

If someone objects, simply comply with the subpoena. The amount at stake isn’t worth the time it takes to argue, and you’re well ahead collecting from the vast majority who will pay.

What if someone files a motion to compel?

Outside of states where the applicable rule authorizes that the producing party can withhold documents until it receives reimbursement, the suggestion is not that you refuse to comply until you are paid. The idea is to collect reimbursement in a way that doesn’t invite a discovery dispute. If you comply and request voluntary reimbursement, there’s nothing to compel: you can always simply turn over the documents. Is it realistic to think you’ll invite a motion because you asked for reimbursement?

"We usually choose our standard $150 fee (to search up to three databases). If we think it’s going to be more complex, then we’ll negotiate and create a custom invoice."
Rebecca Logeman
ABC Supply

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