Frequently Asked Questions
What is the attorney-client privilege?
The attorney-client privilege keeps client communications confidential, protecting communications between attorneys and their clients from disclosure. In a lawsuit, neither the attorney nor the client can be forced to disclose attorney-client communications to the opposing party. Because the attorney cannot reveal attorney-client communications, the privilege promotes full communication between an attorney and his or her clients. This is important, because in order to adequately represent a client, the attorney must have knowledge of all of the facts, whether good or bad. Because the attorney-client privilege protects corporations and other business entities as well as individuals, the attorney-client privilege enables APU employees to speak openly and honestly with university attorneys without fear that the university will be forced to disclose these communications to third parties.
The attorney-client privilege may be waived, however, if the client discloses communications between the client and the client’s attorney to third parties. In order to maintain the attorney-client privilege, APU employees should not disclose communications between the employee and APU’s Office of the General Counsel with third parties. This means APU employees should not discuss such communications with third parties or forward emails received from the Office of the General to third parties. APU employees should also not disclose communications with other APU employees without prior consent of the Office of the General Counsel.
What should I do if I receive a letter or phone call from an attorney relating to my APU work?
Immediately contact the Office of the General Counsel at (626) 387-5763. You should not communicate with or respond to attorneys who are making claims against the university. The Office of the General Counsel will respond on the university’s behalf.
I’ve received a jury summons. What should I do?
You will need to follow the instructions in your jury summons. If you are summoned for jury service in a Los Angeles County Superior Court courthouse, juror information may be found at lasuperiorcourt.org/jury/.
I teach an outdoor recreation class that requires a hike up Mount Baldy. Should students sign any type of release before participating in the hike?
Yes. If students participate in field trips or other activities off campus as part of a class or other university-sponsored event, they should sign a Release, Indemnity, and Assumption of Risk form. Contact the university’s risk manager at (626) 815-4525 to obtain the release form.
I would like to provide transportation on behalf of the university for a group of students to visit a museum in downtown Los Angeles. What steps do I need to take before I do this? Should students sign any type of release in advance?
Yes. If you are providing transportation on behalf of the university, make sure you contact the university’s risk manager at (626) 815-4525 to obtain clearance as a university-approved driver. In addition, students should sign a Release, Indemnity, and Assumption of Risk form. Contact the risk manager at (626) 815-4525 to obtain the release form.
Subpoenas and Lawsuits
What if a process server tries to serve me with a subpoena, summons, complaint, or other legal papers relating to my APU work?
Immediately contact the Office of the General Counsel at (626) 387-5763. The process server should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel to serve the papers there. Our office is located at 777 East Alosta Ave., Azusa, CA 91702.
What if I receive a subpoena, summons, complaint or other legal papers not related to my APU work?
Because the Office of the General Counsel only represents university employees for matters within the course and scope of their university employment, the Office of the General Counsel cannot provide you with legal advice or assistance for personal legal matters. You may want to consult with your own attorney if you get a subpoena or other legal papers not related to your APU work.
What if I have been sued? Will the university represent me?
In most cases, if you are being sued because of your work at the university, APU will represent you. There are certain exceptions, however, such as when your conduct is knowingly unlawful, grossly negligent, or has only a tenuous connection with your job duties. In addition, failure to follow university policies including failure to obtain appropriate legal review or appropriate signature authority for a contract under which the claim arises may also result in personal liability and loss of insurance coverage for the employee(s) involved in the transaction.
What should I do if I was involved in a car accident in a university vehicle or while on university business?
You should report the accident to the local police first, and then your supervisor and the university risk manager at (626) 815-4525 within twenty-four (24) hours.
If you still have questions, contact the Office of the General Counsel.
Any links to non-Azusa Pacific University information are provided as a courtesy. They are not intended to constitute an endorsement of the linked materials by Azusa Pacific University.
Updated: January 23, 2017