What is an Information Subpoena?

By: Robert J. Nahoum

A man in suit and tie with his arms crossed.

The Problem:

You come home to find a notice from the post office posted to your door informing you that there is certified mail waiting for you.  Knowing that few good things come to you by certified mail; you are immediately concerned.  Off to the post office you go to uncover your mystery.  When you open the envelope you are baffled to see a legal looking document that identifies itself as an “Information Subpoenaâ€.  Upon closer examination this document not only tells you that you have a default judgment entered against you but now  you have been directed to answer piercing personal questions about your job, your income and you bank accounts among other things.

The Rules:

After a judgment has been entered against you the debt collector is on a ferocious hunt to find your money.  The law provides the debt collector with an ample tool-chest of devices to satisfy the judgment.  You can have your bank account frozen, your wages garnisheed and even have your property sold.  However, if the debt collector isn’t immediately aware of your assets or job, the debt collector is going to turnover every stone until they are found.  The primary mechanism, for turning over those stones is the Information Subpoena.

The law allows the debt collector to serve an information subpoena on anyone it has a reason to think might have information about your ability to satisfy the judgment including you, your friends and your family.

The information subpoena must be delivered to you by certified mail return receipt requested.  The subpoena asks specific questions such about your assets and income such as “where does the judgment debtor work?†and “with what institution(s) does the judgment debtor hold a bank account?â€

You will then have seven days to return your answer the attorney for the debt collector.  Failure to answer the Information Subpoena may result in contempt of court; although, it rarely does. More often, the Court will give you a second chance to comply before it issues an order of contempt.

What You Should Do:

If you are broke, out of work, on social security, disability or unemployment and you have no non-exempt assets then you are what is called “judgment proofâ€.  That means that there simply is nothing the debt collector can take from you – you can’t get blood from a stone.  If you are judgment proof, show it to the debt collector by answering the Information Subpoena truthfully.  If you have income or assets you may be able to negotiate a settlement of the judgment.  However, be careful when settling and make sure the terms are reasonable and feasible.

If the judgment was won by default or if you have reason to fight the merits of the judgment, you may consider trying to vacate the judgment.

Whatever course you take, you are always bettered protected when you are represented by a skilled and experienced attorney.  Consider speaking with a debt defense attorney to better understand your options and the cost of defense.

If you need help settling or defending a debt collection law suit, stopping harassing debt collectors or suing a debt collector, contact us today to see what we can do for you.  With office located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Rockland County, the Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum defends consumers in debt collection cases throughout the Tristate area including New Jersey.

The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C
(845) 232-0202

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