From time to time, employees of Clemson University receive lawsuits, subpoenas, requests for production of documents or other legal documents related to their employment at the University. Should any employee receive such a document, they should immediately forward a copy to the Office of General Counsel (Fax: 864-656-7739). The law imposes strict deadlines — in some cases, only a few days — on responding to these legal documents and both the University and the individual employee may be subject to penalties for failure to comply in a timely manner. Prompt action is imperative. Employees may also receive regular correspondence from an attorney or law firm; while the Office of General Counsel will be glad to review or discuss such correspondence with an employee, it is not necessary to forward these communications to our office. However, anything that is titled "Summons," “Subpoena,” “Notice of Deposition,” “Request for Production of Documents” or otherwise appears to be a court document should be acted upon promptly.
Upon receipt, the Office of General Counsel will review the document and advise the employee on the appropriate response. If there are documents to be produced, we will assist the employee in locating those documents, screening them for material that we are not required or allowed to produce, and discussing any issues or concerns related to the production of the requested documents. If an employee is subpoenaed to testify in a court case or deposition, we will assist the employee in preparing for his or her testimony. Where appropriate or necessary, we will provide for legal representation of the employee at the legal proceeding.
In rare instances, University employees are actually named as defendants in lawsuits related to their employment at Clemson. All employees of the University are covered by the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund for civil claims made against them for acts that are within the scope of their employment. In the unlikely event of such a claim, an attorney will be provided for you, and the SCIRF will pay for your legal defense. With a few narrow exceptions, South Carolina law provides that state employees cannot be individually or personally liable for alleged acts or omissions that occur within the scope of their state employment. Consequently, the University will immediately request that the court dismiss the lawsuit against the employee and substitute the University as defendant. These requests are generally granted as a matter of law.
The procedures outlined above apply only to legal proceedings that arise out of a person’s employment at Clemson University. Private, personal legal actions (such as a divorce or bankruptcy) do not need to be forwarded to the Office of General Counsel, and, by law, this office cannot assist you in these matters.
Again, we stress the importance of immediately forwarding any legal notice to the Office of General Counsel. Failure to do so could have serious ramifications including jeopardizing SCIRF coverage of the claim, forfeiture of the case and legal penalties, including fines and even imprisonment.