How To Respond To An FTC Subpoena | Gordon Law Group

From Fear to Power: How to Respond Effectively to an FTC Subpoena

Facing an FTC subpoena can be a nerve-wracking experience that leaves you feeling lost and uncertain. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you tackle this challenge with confidence and ease.

Our team of dynamic and experienced FTC defense lawyers knows how to handle the situation and will provide the support to respond to the FTC appropriately.

With our guidance, you can avoid potential FTC penalties and emerge victorious.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

What is an FTC subpoena?

An FTC subpoena is a legal document issued by the Federal Trade Commission that requires individuals or companies to provide documents or testimony related to an ongoing investigation by the FTC.

A subpoena is a tool the FTC uses to gather information and evidence to help determine if a company or individual has engaged in unfair or deceptive practices or violated antitrust laws.

If an individual or company fails to comply with an FTC subpoena, the FTC can seek enforcement through a court order.

Depending on the severity of the offense, the investigations can lead to administrative, civil, or criminal enforcement proceedings.

The FTC can use 3 types of subpoenas to gather evidence to obtain records and information from the parties involved. These are:

  • Civil investigative demands
  • Commission-issued subpoenas
  • Judicial subpoenas

Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs)

CIDs are a form of administrative subpoena that the FTC can issue directly to the parties involved. 

CIDs require not only the production of records and testimony but also written reports or answers.

Responding to a CID can be time-consuming, and entities must act promptly to avoid missing response deadlines.

Commission-Issued Subpoenas

The FTC can issue Commission-issued subpoenas without judicial approval.

These subpoenas can compel the production of documents and oral testimony, which FTC personnel can take directly.

The FTC routinely uses its subpoena power to investigate allegations of unfair competition and anti-competitive market practices.

Judicial Subpoenas

Judicial subpoenas can be used in appropriate circumstances.

This includes grand jury subpoenas issued when evidence obtained through other investigative means supports criminal charges.

Companies and individuals served with judicial subpoenas must comply or face severe consequences, including contempt proceedings and negative inferences in the underlying litigation.

Having a competent FTC lawyer is crucial if the suing you or your company.

Not having proper legal representation can result in costly mistakes that may ruin your case. 

However, you can halt typical FTC actions with the right attorney advocating for your interests.

Who can be subpoenaed by the FTC?

The FTC is responsible for investigating a variety of federal offenses committed by companies of all sizes. 

These investigations can cover various activities, including advertising, marketing, and consumer protection, so it has broad authority to investigate companies that engage in deceptive or unfair marketing practices.

The FTC can subpoena anyone who has information relevant to the investigation, including witnesses, employees, officers, and directors of companies, as well as third-party entities such as banks, accounting firms, and advertising agencies. 

The FTC may also subpoena documents, such as contracts, emails, financial records, and marketing materials.

In some cases, the FTC may also seek a court order to enforce a subpoena if the recipient does not comply with the subpoena. 

Failure to comply with a subpoena or a court order to enforce a subpoena can result in serious consequences, including fines, penalties, and even imprisonment in some cases.

You might be wondering, does receiving an FTC subpoena mean I’m in trouble? Not necessarily, but call a lawyer

How to respond to an FTC Subpoena

If you receive an FTC subpoena, it is important to respond promptly and appropriately.

Follow these steps to respond to an FTC subpoena:

  1. Read the subpoena carefully: Carefully review the subpoena to understand what information or documents the FTC is requesting and the deadline for responding.
  2. Consult with an attorney: Consult a knowledgeable FTC defense attorney with experience in FTC investigations and subpoenas.
  3. Identify and preserve relevant documents: Gather all documents responsive to the subpoena, including hard-copy and electronic documents.
  4. Prepare a written response: Draft a written response to the subpoena that includes all of the information requested by the FTC. Your response should be accurate, complete, and responsive to the subpoena. Are you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to respond to an FTC subpoena? Our team of experienced FTC lawyers is here to help! We understand the process and requirements, and we’ll work closely with you to draft a response that meets all necessary guidelines.
  5. Submit your response to the FTC: Submit your written response to the FTC by the deadline specified in the subpoena. You may need to provide the documents or information in person, by mail, or electronically, depending on the instructions provided in the subpoena.
  6. Follow up with the FTC: After submitting your response, follow up with the FTC to confirm that it has received your response and is satisfied with the information you provided.
Taking an FTC subpoena seriously and responding promptly and accurately is important.

Michael Brandwein, Partner- Corporate Law & Tax Compliance 

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Our proven track record includes:

  • Successfully reversing an FTC asset freeze and receivership for our clients
  • Negotiating consent orders to avoid costly and lengthy court proceedings
  • Achieving settlements with the FTC that require $0 out of pocket expenses for our clients
  • Negotiating reduced monitoring and reporting requirements in FTC defense cases for our clients

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How long do I have to respond to an FTC subpoena?

You should respond immediately if you have received a subpoena from the Federal Trade Commission.

The subpoena will usually specify the date you must produce the requested documents or information. 

If you need additional time to comply with the subpoena, you may be able to negotiate an extension with the FTC.

It’s important to take the FTC subpoena seriously and seek the advice of an attorney if you have any questions or concerns.

What happens after I respond to an FTC subpoena?

After you respond to an FTC subpoena, the FTC will review the information or documents you provided and determine whether it has obtained the information it sought.

Depending on the nature of the investigation, the FTC may take one or more of the following actions:

  • Close the investigation: If the FTC determines that the information or documents you provided fully satisfy its inquiry, it may close the investigation and take no further action.
  • Request additional information: If the FTC determines that it needs more information or documents to complete its investigation, it may issue a follow-up subpoena or request additional information from you.
  • Initiate legal action: If the FTC determines that there is evidence of a violation of law, it may initiate legal action against the company or individuals involved.

It’s important to note that even after you respond to an FTC subpoena, the agency may continue to investigate the matter and request additional information from you or others.

It’s always a good idea to consult an attorney to ensure you comply with the subpoena properly and protect your legal rights.

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Gordon Law Group is a professional, and extremely helpful firm. They are committed to their clients and in touch with individuals needs! I highly recommend them!

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John Nagle, Head of Tax Law

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Can I challenge an FTC subpoena?

Yes, you can challenge an FTC subpoena in certain situations.

For example, if you believe the subpoena is too broad, unfairly demanding or if you believe that it seeks information or documents that are protected by the attorney-client privilege or other legal protections.

To challenge an FTC subpoena, you would typically need to file a motion to quash the subpoena in the appropriate court.

We recommend you consult with an attorney with experience in FTC investigations and subpoenas before filing a motion to quash.

An experienced FTC defense attorney can advise you on your legal rights and obligations and help you determine whether you have grounds to challenge the subpoena.

Protect Your Business: Contact Our FTC Defense Lawyers Now

Don’t go up against the FTC alone. Our FTC defense lawyers have experience handling FTC investigations on the state and local levels.

We have successfully represented companies that have appeared on the Forbes Top 500 list across various industries, including the technology field.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation and maintain your peace of mind.

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Submit your information to schedule a confidential consultation, or call us at (847) 580-1279