Information for UW-SMPH Faculty Providers Receiving Requests from Attorneys
During the current public health situation and response to COVID-19, you may still receive contacts from attorneys seeking to arrange meetings, requesting reports or seeking testimony in pending actions. SMPH Risk Management (608-263-2914 or 608-438-4302) and UW Office of Legal Affairs (608-265-2424) remain a resource for you to assist with questions or concerns that arise from these requests, particularly if they conflict with your clinical obligations and priorities. Here are some things to consider when you receive those contacts:
1) Informal requests are always optional. Remember that you may simply “say no” to any request for a meeting with a lawyer, a chart review, etc. Unless you have been properly served with a subpoena, you are not compelled to take on these obligations at this time (or ever).
2) Avoid in-person meetings with attorneys. If you are planning on meeting with an attorney, communicate by telephone instead.
3) Informing attorneys if you are not available: If you are not able to accommodate the request from the attorney because of clinical demands, you can inform the attorney that your current clinical demands would not allow for your involvement in legal proceedings at this time. If you are uncomfortable communicating this with an attorney, or if the attorney continues to request contact despite this message, please reach out to SMPH Risk and we can help with further communications.
4) Properly served Subpoenas are still enforceable: At this time, you should assume that subpoenas are still in effect and enforceable. If you have received a subpoena, reach out to SMPH Risk or UW-OLA for assistance including determining whether the subpoena is actually active and valid (such as whether was properly issued and served). Similarly please reach out to us with any conflicts that have developed between a previously received subpoena and your evolving clinical schedule/obligations.
5) Status of court proceedings: Hearings, trials and other court proceedings that were previously scheduled may or may not still be going forward – depending on the nature of the proceedings and the approach by that particular county or district. If you have questions about whether a particular matter is still moving forward and you are not sure how to check, please reach out to SMPH Risk for assistance.
The information above applies to those situations where you are being contacted as a treating provider or independent expert.
If you are a party to a matter or otherwise represented by counsel, you should direct your questions to the attorney (OLA and DOJ) representing you in a particular matter.
Otherwise if you have any questions regarding requests from attorneys, legal paperwork you receive or the status of current proceedings and your obligations in light of your clinical obligations – please reach out to SMPH Risk or UW OLA. You can reach us at:
* SMPH Risk Management: Bob Ebbe (firstname.lastname@example.org; 608-263-2914 or 608-438-4302)