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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Subpoena and Court Appearances

As an expert (paid) witness for one side or the other in a court case, you move away from the role Extension has of providing unbiased information. If an attorney representing one side or the other wants to subpoena you as a FACT witness, you then of course would testify and OSU legal counsel could advise you regarding the handling of questions. Sometimes faculty and staff do not initially understand the differences between serving as a fact witness vs. an expert witness, and this can lead to confusion. If you have been at another university or in a different faculty position, the question of testifying might have been handled differently.

If you receive a subpoena related to your OSU Extension work assignment, before taking action, please inform your immediate supervisor and contact the Associate Director. In responding, there are often a number of issues which need to be addressed; and we would like to be certain we provide coaching and advice. If the subpoena relates to personal reasons, follow guidelines on the Human Resources Web site related to the OSU paid leave policy (


  1. If you are subpoenaed to appear in court, you must do so.
    a. Immediately scan and email (or fax) the associate director a copy of the subpoena. The associate director will forward the subpoena to the Office of Legal Affairs.
    b. Notify your immediate supervisor.

  2. Ohio State Office of Legal Affairs will respond to the subpoena on your behalf. This may include assistance with any required responsive documents and guidance on court appearances.

Fact Witness Guidelines:

  1. The types of information that you can provide include:
    a. Record of attendance at workshops, etc. – sign in/sign out sheet
    b. Curriculum taught – copy of teaching outline
    c. Materials provided to individual(s)
    d. Level of participation in class sessions (examples: Mr. X entered into discussions, Mr. and Ms. Y showed evidence of having read the materials assigned)

  2. Remember, you are an educator and do not offer opinions, recommendations, treatment goals, or discuss behavioral patterns.

  3. Do not discuss the case with unauthorized persons or attorneys representing any parties in a court case.

OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet – approved April 2004
– 2005; reviewed – 2008
– March 2012; approved by OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet – April 12, 2012
Reviewed and revised by Kirk Bloir – April 2015