5 CFR 297.402 - Disclosure pursuant to a compulsory legal process served on the Office.

§ 297.402 Disclosure pursuant to a compulsory legal process served on the Office.

For purposes of this section, the Office considers that a subpoena signed by a judge is equivalent to a court order.

(a) The Office may disclose, without prior consent of the data subject, specified information from a system of records whenever such disclosure is pursuant to an order signed by the appropriate official of a court of competent jurisdiction or quasi-judicial agency. In this subpart, a court of competent jurisdiction includes the judicial system of a state, territory, or possession of the United States.

(b) Notice of the order will be provided to the data subject by the Office as soon as practicable after service of the order. The notice should be mailed to the last known address of the individual and state the name and number of the case or proceeding, and the nature of the information sought.

(c) Before complying or refusing to comply with the order, an official with authority to disclose records under this subpart should consult legal counsel to ensure that the response is appropriate.

(d) Before responding to the order or subpoena signed by a judge, an official with authority to disclose records under this subpart in consulting with legal counsel will ensure that -

(1) The requested material is relevant to the subject matter of the related judicial or administrative proceeding;

(2) Motion is made to quash or modify an order that is unreasonable or oppressive:

(3) Motion is made for a protective order when necessary to restrict the use or disclosure of any information furnished for purposes other than those of the involved proceeding; or

(4) Request is made for an extension of time allowed for response, if necessary.

(e) If an order or subpoena signed by a judge for production of documents also requests appearance of an Office employee, the response should be to furnish certified copies of the appropriate records. In those situations where the subpoena is not signed by a judge, the Office will return the document to the sender and indicate that no action will be taken to provide records until the subpoena is signed by a judge.

(f) If oral testimony is requested by the order or subpoena signed by a judge, an explanation that sets forth the testimony desired must be furnished to the Office system manager. The individual who has been ordered or subpoenaed to testify should consult with counsel to determine the matters about which the individual may properly testify.

(g) In all situations concerning an order, subpoena signed by a judge, or other demand for an employee of the Office to produce any material or testimony concerning the records that are subject to the order, that are contained in the Office's systems of records, and that are acquired as part of the employee's official duties, the employee shall not provide the information without the prior approval of the appropriate Office official.

(h) If it is determined that the information should not be provided, the individual ordered or subpoenaed to do so should respectfully decline to comply with the demand based on the instructions from the appropriate Office official.

(i) Notice of the issuance of the ex parte order or subpoena signed by a judge is not required if the system of records has been exempted from the notice requirement of 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(8) pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) by a Notice of Exemption published in the Federal Register.

[ 53 FR 1998, Jan. 26, 1988, as amended at 57 FR 56732, Nov. 30, 1992]

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