Can I Serve a Subpoena on Google Without Filing a Law Suit in California?

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Michael Roberts,'s founder & internet litigation support specialist, today revealed some of his tips and tricks for attorneys and pro se litigants trying to obtain digital forensic evidence from the faceless Silicon Valley Giant.

Rexxfield's Michael Roberts refers to Google  as "Googliath"

Rexxfield's Michael Roberts refers to Google as "Googliath"

Roberts' recent blog about serving Google with subpoenas brings good news for the frustrated litigant. He revealed what he calls two of his favorite giant killers.

Google, or "Googliath" as Roberts calls it, is a global corporation, with a global reach, and impacts the lives of anyone who "plugs in" to the world wide web. Roberts said "Unfortunately, for Americans who fall victim to the use of Google products outside acceptable use policies, their nightmare can get worse when they turn to legal processes to find relief from their anonymous cyber bullies and antagonists."

Google is based in Santa Clara County in California; Roberts said, "I have found that for the most part, Google will not honor civil subpoenas except from California Courts. This could mean spending between $5,000 & $10,000 in attorney fees just to file a disposable law suit in order to obtain a few IP addresses and Gmail or user account details." Roberts' recent blog about serving Google with subpoenas brings good news for the frustrated litigant. He revealed what he calls two of his favorite giant killers:

(1) "I discovered a real gem in the form of a new Californian Court rule which came into effect in january 2010, namely "California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2029.300". The rule cited by Roberts allows a party to domesticize an out-of-state subpoena for about $30.00. He said "do the math; $5,000.00 less $30.00 equals $4,970.00 in savings!"

(2) Roberts added "The other, often overlooked approach for out-of-state parties is to check to see if google has a presence in their own state, but this only works for about one in five states". According to Google's contact page, these currently include: Mountain View, CA 94043, Ann Arbor, MI , Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, Boulder, CO, Cambridge, MA, Chicago, IL, Birmingham, MI, Irvine, CA, Kirkland, WA , Madison, WI , New York, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Reston, VA, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA and Washington, DC.

(3) If the breach of Google's TOS involves copyright violations, the victim can submit a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice, commonly referred to as a DMCA Takedown. This can be done in writing, and does not require formal legal action.

DISCLAIMER: Michael Roberts is not an attorney, he does however provide expert internet litigation support services for licensed attorneys trying to negotiate their way through this new area of law. He is generally able to help achieve superior results in shorter time than litigation teams lacking specialty skills and experience. For this reason Rexxfield has been engaged by some of the world's largest law firms, law enforcement officials, celebrities, heads-of-state or their families and corporate general counsels amongst others. This is largely due to his practice of employing language that reduces filing deficiencies, resistance and manœuvring room for both defendants and the ISPs being served with the record production requests. Such errors often necessitate recasting the filings and the loss of important evidence.

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