Handling Legal Processes
Policy Number: 147
Handling the processing of all legal documents and instruments, including, but not limited to, service and/or receipt of legal process and requests for documents.
- Date Reviewed:
- January 2019
- Responsible Office:
- Office of Legal Affairs
- Responsible Executive:
- Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("University") Office of Legal Affairs (“Legal Affairs”) is the sole University office authorized to handle the processing of all legal documents and instruments, including, but not limited to, service and/or receipt of legal process and requests for records or other documents. General guidelines and instructions for processing legal documents have been established by Legal Affairs and are incorporated by reference into this policy.
A. Inquiries from Governmental and Other Official Investigators
Inquiries of any type from governmental and other official investigators should be immediately referred to a Legal Officer in Legal Affairs.
B. Claims or Possible Claims Against the University
Possible claims that may arise under state or federal law against the University or its employees in their official capacity must be reported to Legal Affairs. Examples of such claims include, but are not limited to claims of property damage and/or personal injury or death caused by the wrongful act, omission or negligence of a University employee. Legal Affairs is required by The University of Texas System to report possible claims information to The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel.
C. Receipt of Legal Process
For the purposes of this policy, “legal process” includes, but is not limited to, any citation or notice of suit, subpoena to appear and/or for records, demand for payment, and/or notice of claim (including claims filed with administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), whether received at work or at an employee’s personal residence or elsewhere, and whether received via mail, facsimile, email, or through contact or delivery by a process server, constable, deputy, or other law enforcement officer or private person.
If an employee receives an oral or written request for documents or information related to University business (including any legal process), the employee must refer the requestor to and forward the request immediately to Legal Affairs (“Attention: Legal Officer”).
The recipient of any type of legal process or request for documents or information must make immediate telephone and/or email contact with Legal Affairs for an assessment of the request or legal process. Failure to respond promptly to such requests or legal process may adversely affect the University, its officials and employees. The recipient of legal process must forward the documents to Legal Affairs within 24 hours of receipt.
Unless authorized in advance by a Legal Officer, no University employee is authorized to accept service of legal process (including a subpoena) for the University or any other University employee. Likewise, no University employee may give permission to an outside caller to fax a subpoena for another employee (including their supervisor and/or physician, even at that person’s request or direction).
Failure to comply with policies regarding handling legal process may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
D. Other Requests for Information
All employees are responsible for complying with the University's policy on release of public information. Refer to HOOP Policy 132 Handling Records Requests. Failure to comply with policies related to public information requests may seriously compromise the position of the University in pending litigation and may constitute grounds for disciplinary action. No employee shall disclose confidential information gained by reason of his or her official position, nor shall the employee otherwise use such information for his or her personal gain or benefit.