Department Policy 9.4 Acceptance of Service (Subpoenas, Summons and Complaints)

Created April 2003
Revised June 2017
Approved by Dr. Larry Wolk, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer, July 2017
Summary

This policy covers the process to be followed when the department or a department employee is served with a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or summons and complaint.

Definitions

Complaint means a pleading that initiates a lawsuit and informs the person being sued of the basis of the suit, the claims alleged and the relief being sought.

Service of process means the delivery of a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, summons, complaint, or other legal document to the person required to respond to the document.  

Subpoena means a legal document issued by a government body or a court that compels the recipient to appear on a set date and time to provide testimony.

Subpoena duces tecum means a legal document issued by a government body or a court that compels the recipient to produce documents on a set date and time.

Summons means a notice issued by a court to the party(s) being sued that a civil case has been filed against him or her. The summons is attached to the complaint and is typically served upon the party being sued in conjunction with the complaint.

Policy

All legal documents requiring personal service on the department or a current employee of the department that pertain to the business conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and/or its employees are to be received by the Office of Human Resources. “Legal documents” include subpoenas and summons and complaints.

Procedure

Legal documents received for departmental business

Service of process of a legal document to a department employee or the department must be done by hand-delivering the legal document to the Office of Human Resources. Sending a subpoena, summons or complaint via U.S. mail, email or fax does not constitute valid service of process. Employees should not respond or reply to messages containing subpoenas or summons and complaints, other than, if the employee so chooses as a professional courtesy, to inform the sender of the proper procedure of serving the documents through the Office of Human Resources.

Process servers, individuals who perform service of process, shall be directed to the Office of Human Resources (OHR).
  • OHR staff shall accept service of any legal documents that require personal service on the department or any current department employee pertaining to department business.
  • OHR staff shall ensure the documents are logged into the tracking system as having been received and shall deliver these documents to the employee who is the recipient of the legal documents and the director of the Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance.
Legal documents received for non-departmental business

Process servers shall be directed to the OHR.
  • OHR staff shall not accept service on behalf of an employee for matters not related to department business. 
  • OHR staff shall contact the employee, who will be responsible for the acceptance of service.

Waiver of service
Department employees shall not sign a waiver accepting service of a subpoena or summons and complaint in lieu of requiring formal service of process without first receiving approval from the director of the Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance.

Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance review

Subpoenas received for cases in which the department or department employee is not a party shall be reviewed by the director of the Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance to approve the employee to appear or respond or to determine if a motion to quash or other legal action should be filed.