You should politely decline to accept the papers and direct the process server to the Office of General Counsel (Room 112, Hullihen Hall). If you receive any of these documents in the mail, or if you involuntarily accept such documents from a process server, you should contact OGC by telephone or email. Please bear in mind that a delay in responding to these documents can have serious legal consequences.
If you receive a letter from a lawyer asserting a claim or threatening a legal action against you in your work capacity, or against your department, your unit, or the University, please alert the Office of General Counsel immediately. If you receive any correspondence (such as a letter or an email message) containing such a claim or threat, you should forward a copy without delay to a member of the OGC staff.
Individuals are encouraged in appropriate cases to report illegal or fraudulent activity first to a supervisor. They may also call University Auditing, or any member of OGC, with such a concern. A confidential hotline, maintained by an outside firm, is also available for reporting such concerns. The Hotline telephone number is 1-866-358-3805.
For legal advice related to your work at the University of Delaware, only OGC may retain outside counsel. An outside attorney may be engaged, for example, to handle a matter requiring particular expertise or a large litigation matter. Outside counsel may also be engaged when representation by OGC presents a conflict and other circumstances make the retention appropriate.
The University will, in most cases, pay reasonable legal bills and expenses for counsel retained by OGC to represent faculty or staff who need outside representation in connection with their work at the University of Delaware. The University has a written policy-Policy 4-108, "Indemnification of Employees and Agents Who Are Not Trustees or Officers" (http://www.udel.edu/ExecVP/policies/personnel/4-108.htm) establishing eligibility criteria for legal representation and describing the duties of University personnel when they are represented without charge by OGC or a specially retained outside attorney. Legal bills and expenses of counsel retained without the prior approval of OGC will not be paid.
OGC does not and cannot represent students, faculty, staff or other individuals in personal matters. As a service to the University community, OGC maintain a list of local attorneys who have expressed a willingness to consult with individuals on a variety of personal matters, such as real estate matters, landlord-tenant disputes, domestic relations, family law, automobile accident cases, and the preparation of wills and other legal instruments. A copy of the list can be obtained by contacting OGC.
Conversations with an OGC attorney are not automatically confidential. OGC attorneys have a duty to represent the University, and do not act as private lawyers for individuals on campus. Generally speaking, however, they are ethically bound not to disclose confidential University matters to persons outside the University's ambit unless ordered by a court or when physical harm is threatened. Within the University walls, members of the OGC staff strive to work with discretion and sensitivity at all times. Their obligations to the University as a client may require that they advise University personnel or officials, outside the OGC, regarding certain confidential matters. OGC attorneys will typically advise the individual who has made the disclosure if such a consultation is required or appropriate. If you have any questions or concerns about the confidentiality of a particular conversation, you should ask the lawyer before the conversation begins.
Lori Hill and Jennifer Becnel-Guzzo are Delaware notaries and can notarize official documents for members of the University community. Please call first to ensure that Lori or Jen will be available when you come to the Office.