If you are served with a summons or subpoena, you should try to get help from a lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer, you should read the article Information for filers without lawyers.
What should I do if I get a summons?
If someone gave you a summons, it means you are being sued. You can also tell that you are being sued if the case style or case name at the top of the papers you were given includes your name. The case style or case name looks something like this:
John Smith vs. Jane Doe
If you are one of many people being sued, your name may not appear in the case style. Instead, the case style may look like this:
John Smith vs. Jane Doe et al
The papers you were given about the case may tell you how long you have to answer the law suit against you. If you do not send an answer to the court or go to the court hearing, the person suing you may automatically win the case against you.
The papers you were given will tell you:
- What court the case was filed in, and
- What the case number is for the case filed against you.
You will need the case number and the name of the court to know where to file an answer to the law suit against you, if you choose to file an answer.
What should I do if I get a subpoena?
A subpoena is a court order for you to be a witness in a court case or provide some documents or other evidence related to the court case. A subpoena is a court order; if you ignore it, you could go to jail or have to pay a fine. The subpoena will tell you when and where you need to be to testify as a witness, or what documents or evidence you need to provide.