Witness Fee


#1

I have been emailing with my son’s therapist and she is wanting to charge me to come to court, under subpoena, $1,000.00 per day. Can she do this?? My court time is 3:00-5:00 pm. I have issued a subpoena for 4:00 pm so as not to interfere with her day. Her preparation has consisted of reading a letter she issued last year. She has to travel 20 minutes to the court house as she is in Mecklenburg County where the court is.

Below are our emails and what she has been saying. Is what she is saying relevant to my case and if so, is she right? What does Asset Distribution have to do with my kids?

EMAIL #1

To me:

I thought I should email you just to make sure you are aware of a few things. I consulted about this subpoena and thought there was some information you should have since you may be unaware as you are representing yourself.

By NC law I am unable to breech your son’s confidentiality unless one of two things occurs. 1) Probably the more difficult of the two, the dad must agree for me to disclose the information (breech confidentiality and speak on the stand) as well as yourself. I have to have it in written form from both of you. I suspect the dad will not give this consent as this is information that would be detrimental to his case.
2) I have to have a court order signed by a judge prior to me being able to breech confidentiality.

As well, in matters of asset distribution, psychotherapists have absolute privilege and as such cannot be ordered to speak.

Again, I share this with you so that you can best determine how you want to proceed. If you are able to obtain the dads consent, please have it to me 7 days prior to the court hearing, or if you are able to procure a court order, please bring the document signed by the judge as soon as you are able.

As for my fee, after consideration, I am not able to reduce the fee. The time and preparation for appearing in court is as much a part of the fee as is the actual physical time spent in travel and appearance in court. Please know that the fee is per day, so if the trial is held over or not seen that day and continued to another day, you will be charged for that day as well as any subsequent days. I have unfortunately had to appear in court many times and have yet to find a situation that actually was held at the time scheduled. My fee stands as discussed earlier at $1000 per day I am subpoenaed to court.

Again, I am telling you this so you are not blind-sided when you go to court and when the judge becomes frustrated that the law has not been followed (the court order) and either continues to another day so as to determine if he wants to write and order or produces one then and there taking away time and continuing the case to a later day.

Therapist


EMAIL #2

Thank you for your email Therapist.

I am not sure how the confidentiality will play out, since my intentions are to ask you about dad’s comments and responses, not son’s therapy. Also, not really sure how “Asset Distribution” plays into this. I hope it doesn’t refer to how the boys will be distributed. ha ha. Lastly regarding the fee, under the “Information for Witness” on the back of your subpoena, issued by the court, there is a print out regarding the Witness Fee’s and how it is calculated and paid.

Thanks
Me


EMAIL #3

The witness fee is the fee paid by the court, however the fee I charge is under the "© Protection Of Persons Subject To Subpoena

NOTE: Rule 45, North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, Subsections © and (d). (1) Avoid undue burden or expense. - A party or an attorney responsible for the issuance and service of a subpoena shall take reasonable steps to avoid imposing an undue burden or expense on a person subject to the subpoena.The court shall enforce this subdivision and impose upon the party or attorney in violation of this requirement an appropriate sanction that may include compensating the person unduly burdened for lost earnings and for reasonable attorney’s fees."

Therefore, my fee stands as usual and as outlined in my website, publically viewable. I am sorry, but I am unable to waive this fee. As for the other items I will follow strictly the laws of NC.


#2

It is very common for experts to expect to be paid for the time they are unable to be at their work and for travel expenses. $1,000 for an afternoon appearance seems like a lot, but the rules on the subpoena do not have any specific limits on the fee.

As for what the therapist can testify to, it sounds like she is preparing you for her refusal to answer many questions. You should attempt to address this before court with either a motion to compel if you can get on the court calendar prior to your scheduled hearing date or a motion in limine to be addressed that day. This will allow you to get a specific ruling on what the court will compel her to testify about. This is a tricky area of law so you should have a consultation with a lawyer in your area or consider using Rosen Online for assistance.


#3

I would love to be able to do the Rosen Online but I am not able to afford the fee. I am unemployed, Unemployment is delayed and no child support. Everything I have filed is indigent. Also, my trial is on the 7th and I am not sure there is enough time for anything. I had an appointment for a free consultation tonight but they cancelled.

Just don’t feel like I can get anything to work for me. I did put in the papers that I wanted the lawyer fee’s covered, but I can’t afford to pay for it up front. Just amazes me that the ex can’t afford to give us anything but he can afford to hire multiple lawyers. So Frustrating.

Thank you for your help. I will see if the self help center can give me any guidance.

Thanks
Pam