Governance, Ethics and General

Legal Requests for Information and Records

Section: Governance, Ethics and General Policies
Policy Name: Legal Requests for Information and Records
Policy Owner: Vice President and General Counsel
Responsible University Office: Office of General Counsel
Origination Date: November 16, 2015
Legacy Policy Number: New
  1. SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy addresses the handling of subpoenas, service of process, search warrants, and all other legal requests for information and records regarding students, employees, and the University’s business activities.
    1. “Legal Requests for Information and Records” are requests for information from law enforcement officers or agencies, attorneys, or investigators that ask for any record or any type of information regarding students, employees or the University’s business activities. Legal Requests for Information and Records come in many forms, including subpoenas, summonses, search warrants, letters, faxes, phone calls, court documents delivered by service of process, or requests for access to records under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act. Legal Requests for Information and Records may be accompanied by a consent signed by the student or employee; but if the request comes from a law enforcement officer or agency, an attorney, or an investigator, it still qualifies as a Legal Request for Information and Records even if accompanied by a consent form.
    2. “Service of Process” is the legal term for the delivery of copies of legal documents such as summonses, complaints, subpoenas, orders to show cause, writs, legal notices, and certain other documents. Delivery is usually made by personal delivery to the custodian of the record sought or other person to whom the documents are directed.
    3. “Subpoena” is an official order usually issued by a state or federal court directing the recipient to give testimony or produce documents. Subpoenas are ordinarily received in the mail, although sometimes they are hand-delivered by a process server, who might be a law enforcement officer, court official, or privately hired individual.
    All Legal Requests for Information and Records must be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel so the University can coordinate properly its response, formulate its position, meet deadlines, and otherwise comply with pertinent legal requirements and deadlines. Prompt delivery to the Office of General Counsel is essential in light of the increasing complexity of state and federal laws governing access to information and the potential privacy rights of individuals whose personal information is being sought.
    1. Service of Process
      1. Should any person attempt to serve legal process on the University or on any employee of the University, the service should be declined and the process server should be referred to the Office of General Counsel.
      2. If an employee, faculty or staff member, unknowingly or erroneously accepts service of a legal document of any kind, he or she should immediately fax, scan and email or hand deliver the documents to the Office of General Counsel, together with the envelope, any packaging, and a statement identifying their name, the time, date, and manner of delivery at which service was accepted.
    2. Search Warrants

      Should any member of law enforcement (other than the University of Delaware Police Department) attempt to serve a search warrant on the University or any faculty member, staff member or student at the University, the University’s Police Department or the Office of General Counsel must be contacted immediately to review and assist in the execution of the search warrant.
    3. In cases where a Legal Request for Information and Records is accompanied by a signed authorization permitting the release of information, such request, including the authorization form, must still be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel.