A Guide to Foreign Subpoena Domestication

Certain cases involve deponents that reside in states outside the jurisdiction. For the deposition to take place, lawyers must serve and domesticate a foreign subpoena.

A foreign subpoena, also known as an out-of-state subpoena or interstate subpoena, is issued under the authority of a court of record of another state’s jurisdiction. It is needed when an individual wishes to take the deposition or obtain records from a non-party in a foreign state. The subpoena is utilized in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The process for domesticating subpoenas can be complex and time-consuming. However, thanks to the establishment of the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA), complainants and their lawyers benefit from a more simplified process.

It’s important to note that this privilege can only be enjoyed by states who have adopted the policy. Those who have yet to do so must follow the rules specific to their jurisdiction.

Before applying for subpoena domestication, keep in mind that foreign subpoenas are not only time-consuming and laborious—they can also be expensive. The client should be financially prepared.

The following are some steps to take before obtaining a foreign subpoena:

  • Identify if the records you want to obtain are public information. If they are, you can usually access them by submitting a Public Information Act (PIA) request or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
  • If you can’t secure the information via PIA or FOIA requests, check to see if the custodian of the records has a resident agent in the state. If they do, contact them to ask if they will accept a foreign subpoena.
  • If none of the above methods work, proceed with obtaining the records through a foreign subpoena.

Below are the steps required in subpoena domestication:

Step 1: Determine if the state recognizes the UIDDA

The process of domestication will depend on whether both states recognize the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act. The UIDDA was established to simplify and create a uniform process for acquiring depositions and discovery involving other states. At present, over 31 states including New York have enacted the UIDDA.

States that do not recognize the UIDDA include:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Domestication in these courts will require an approved commission or Order from your local court.

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Step 2: Find out which court needs to issue the subpoena.

Next, determine where the subpoena needs to be reissued to secure the records or serve the individual you will depose. Figuring this out beforehand limits the chances of acquiring a subpoena from the wrong court.

Step 3: Contact the court.

Once you’ve identified the court that needs to issue the foreign subpoena, call them to clarify the procedure for obtaining a subpoena in their jurisdiction. It can be helpful to take notes on important information like what forms need to be filled out and fees that need to be paid. You should also write down the name of the person you spoke to in case you need to ask for additional information later on.

Step 4: Serve the subpoena

Determine the Rules of Civil Procedure for the state in which the subpoena is to be served. Take note of the required forms and fees since court procedures vary for each state, county, or court. The slightest misstep may delay your subpoena and impact the outcome of your case.

After receiving the stamped subpoena, you may issue it alongside the standard documents based on the type of Discovery you need. Examples of these documents include Notice to Patient, Notice to Take Deposition, Notice of Service, and others. Any applicable witness fee will need to be served alongside the subpoena.

Once the subpoena is served, you can proceed with the deposition, testimony, or discovery in line with the state laws.

Domestication in states that don’t follow the UIDDA

The first step is to approach the local court and obtain the necessary documents. Depending on the case and the rules of the out-of-state court, you may be required to acquire standard order to take an out-of-state deposition, a commission or a stipulation to take out-of-state deposition, or a letter rogatory. Afterwards you can proceed with domestication which may involve making a request to the out-of-state court, submitting additional documents, or having an attorney file a formal petition.

Next, the process server alongside the trial state must identify who is permitted to serve the subpoena and which regulations apply to the service.

Accurate and reliable process servers

With two separate jurisdictions and multiple legislative acts involved, serving process across state lines can be daunting. It’s critical to work with a process server who is well-versed in the rules surrounding subpoena domestication.

At Serve Index, our skilled and experienced process servers can serve out-of-state subpoenas in New York. We provide witness fee calculations and real-time e-mail updates to simplify domestication and ensure precise service. We understand that speed is crucial in process jobs which is why we treat each case as top-priority.

Call us at 888 994 6339 or email info@serveindex.com to get a free quote today.

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