Frequently Asked Questions

The following provides answers to a number of frequently asked questions.

Who does the Division of General Counsel represent?

What should I do if someone tries to serve me with a summons, complaint, or other official legal document?

I have been sued. Will the University represent me?

Am I liable if I’m sued for something arising out of my employment at the University?

Will my conversations with the lawyers be confidential?

I need legal help for a personal matter. Will the Division of University Counsel help me?

I have been served a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case. What should I do?

I have received a subpoena asking me to turn over University-related documents. What should I do?

What should I do when I receive a request for public documents?

Is an employee entitled to review his or her personnel file?

Are student records considered confidential?

I am a director. Can I bind the University to a contract?

Who does the Division of General Counsel represent?

Attorneys in the Division of the General Counsel represent the University as an institution. Members of the Division of the General Counsel advise and represent University employees acting within the course and scope of their employment in matters concerning University business; however, they do not advise or represent employees in their individual capacities.

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What should I do if someone tries to serve me with a summons, complaint, or other official legal document?

If any person attempts to serve you with notice of a lawsuit or other legal matter involving the University, please direct them to the DGC. The DGC will not accept service of process for individuals, and University personnel should not assist with the service of process with University personnel.

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I have been sued. Will the University represent me?

While this is determined on a case by case basis, if you have been sued in connection with your official duties as a University employee and you have acted lawfully and in good faith, you will likely be indemnified and defended by the University.  “Official duties” include those duties and responsibilities that are part of the employee’s job description and authority.

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Am I liable if I’m sued for something arising out of my employment at the University?

You could be, but the State may provide an employee with legal representation if he or she is sued for matters arising within the course and scope of University employment.

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Will my conversations with the lawyers be confidential?

Generally speaking, your conversations with us on matters involving University business will be privileged as to outside third parties, but may not be confidential as to other University officials.

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I need legal help for a personal matter. Will the Division of General Counsel help me?

No. The DGC does not represent employees for personal matters that do not affect the University’s legal rights.

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I have been served a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case. What should I do?

If the matter involves your official duties or activities at the University, contact the DGC as soon as possible. If the case involves a personal matter that is unrelated to University business, contact your personal attorney.

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I have received a subpoena asking me to turn over University-related documents. What should I do?

Do not turn over any documents.  Contact the DGC immediately for assistance. We will work with you to determine the appropriate response.

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What should I do when I receive a request for public documents?

Immediately forward the request to the DGC so that a necessary response can be made in a timely manner.

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Is an employee entitled to review his or her personnel file?

Yes. By written request to the University, an employee may review his or her personnel file. Questions and requests regarding personnel files should be directed to the Division of Human Resources.

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Are student records considered confidential?

Yes, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) protects personally identifiable educational records from certain disclosures. Although exceptions apply, educational records are generally not disclosed to any third parties without the student’s consent.

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I am a director. Can I bind the University to a contract?

To enter a contract on behalf of the University, you must have signatory authority in the amount of the contract and you must also comply with JSU’s Contract Policy and state procurement laws, as well as obtain IHL approval for certain contracts. The majority of University contracts require DGC approval of the legal terms in the agreement.

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