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Frequently Asked Questions

I am a student. Can I obtain legal advice from your office?

Not unless the legal matter is related to issues arising from your employment or other relationship at JMU or a JMU-sponsored event or activity.

My Department has been served with a lawsuit. What should I do?

Contact University Legal Services immediately. By law, the University must respond to lawsuits within a specified time period after service. Accordingly, it is imperative that you notify us as soon as you are served so we can review the matter and respond in a timely manner.

I've been personally named as a defendant in a lawsuit. I was only doing my job. Will the University defend me?

It is the policy of the Office of the Attorney General to defend state employees who become parties to legal proceedings by virtue of their good faith efforts to perform their responsibilities of employment. An employee personally named as a defendant in a lawsuit should contact our office immediately for more information.

I've been served with a subpoena. What should I do?

Contact our office immediately. A subpoena is an order of the court. It may command you to appear at a specified date, time and location to testify, or a subpoena may command you to produce certain documents. In either case, you should contact us immediately. It is important to let us review the subpoena to determine the University’s rights and responsibilities for compliance. Do not ignore a subpoena, even if it addresses something you are unfamiliar with, or asks for documents you don’t have. Failure to respond to a subpoena could result in you or the University being held in contempt of court.

What should I do if I receive a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents?

If you receive a request for documents, data or other information maintained by the university, oral or written, and regardless of whether the request specifically cites FOIA, you should immediately contact this office, and forward a copy of any written request to . Do not delay in contacting this office after receiving a request. The University has only five working days from receipt of the request to respond, so it is important to notify us immediately. Do not begin searching for or copying documents before talking to us. We will work with you to formulate the response to the request, and will advise you on the requirements of the law.