FTC sends warning to subpoena and CID recipients

Ballard Spahr LLP

The FTC is cautioning recipients of FTC subpoenas and civil investigative demands (CIDs) that these requests “are legally enforceable demands, and recipients of subpoenas or CIDs need to take their obligation to comply seriously.”  Recipients are warned that “[d]elaying compliance with a CID or subpoena in hopes that you won’t have to comply at all rarely works, and most often results in follow up from the [Office of General Counsel].”

In a blog post from its Office of Legal Counsel (OGC), the FTC stresses its willingness “to work with parties and their counsel to determine the scope of the agency’s subpoena or CID and a timeframe for compliance” and its expectation that subpoena and CID recipients will use the FTC’s meet and confer process “if they have concerns about their ability to comply in full and on time.”

The FTC discusses the circumstances that can cause its OGC to “get involved in order to obtain judicial enforcement of the Commission’s process” and its expectation that recipients will comply with FTC orders adjudicating petitions to limit or quash subpoenas and CIDs.  It warns that if a recipient fails to comply with such an order, the FTC will direct its OGC to commence enforcement proceedings within 30 days of the established deadline.  The blog post includes “tips to avoid becoming the next case on OGC’s enforcement action list.”

The FTC’s blog post underscores that the FTC intends to enforce its jurisdiction to issue subpoenas and CIDs, and that companies should take the receipt of those demands very seriously.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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