How to Domesticate Out-of-State Subpoena

Complex litigation often involves parties from a foreign state. However, subpoena authority in a state court only applies when the subpoenaed party is within the jurisdiction of the court that issued the subpoena.

When one party needs to subpoena a resident of a foreign state, it is fundamental to follow the foreign state’s laws to secure a foreign subpoena and ensure that it is valid and enforceable.

The process of domesticating a subpoena is complex. Two jurisdictions will be involved. There will also be two legislative acts to consider and two Rules of Civil Procedure, which can differ from one another.

Domesticating a subpoena in another state can be complex when you must rule in service and domestication guidelines from two different jurisdictions. A certified process server simplifies the process by providing the support needed to domesticate and successfully serve the documents.

Domesticating Subpoenas for UIDDA States

To standardize the process for domesticating out-of-state subpoenas, the Uniform Law Commission created the UIDDA in 2007. This Act standardizes how litigants take depositions and obtain discovery from parties in a foreign state. It streamlines the time-consuming process of domesticating out-of-state subpoenas.

Under the UIDDA, the plaintiff can secure a subpoena in the same way subpoenas within the state are obtained. A process server will submit the subpoena to the court clerk in the state where the discovery process will take place. Afterwards, the clerk will reissue a subpoena that follows the guidelines of the other state.

The request usually involves:

  • Filling out an application form
  • Submitting it
  • Sending any related documents to the court where the deposition will take place

Some states require a formal petition to be filed by a practicing attorney.

The UIDDA makes this long-winded process shorter. In states that enact the UIDDA, a subpoena request does not involve a court appearance, so out-of-state litigants do not need to be licensed within the state.

Currently, 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted the UIDDA. The states that have not enacted UIDDA are:

  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • Texas

For states that don’t enact UIDDA, the steps involved in domesticating a subpoena are different.

Issuing a Foreign Subpoena

A Woman Sitting in Front of a Lawyer

Under the UIDDA, the party requiring discovery from an out-of-state individual or entity must submit a foreign subpoena to the court clerk where the deposition will occur. The clerk will then issue the subpoena for service following the court’s statutes.

In some states, a local attorney can domesticate a subpoena without needing to issue it through court.

Serving a Foreign Subpoena

When serving a foreign subpoena, the Rules of Civil Procedure in the state where the subpoena will be served will apply. Once the subpoena has been served in line with the court’s regulations, the deposition and retrieval process of documents must also follow court statutes.

Domesticating Subpoenas in States That Don’t Recognize the UIDDA

Foreign subpoena domestication is more labor-intensive for individuals and lawyers in states that do not recognize the UIDDA. First, they must approach their local court and secure one of the following: letters rogatory, a commission for taking an out-of-state deposition, or a standard order for taking an out-of-state deposition.

After that, they need to have the subpoena domesticated. This involves submitting the subpoena to the out-of-state court for reissuing. Depending on the state, this can be done by submitting an application or filing a petition through a process server or an attorney and submitting additional records to the court. Once this step is completed, the subpoena is ready to serve.

Work with Professional Process Servers

Domesticating an out-of-state subpoena is the first step in procuring out-of-state discovery or information. A professional process server is required to deliver the subpoena to the intended individuals or organizations successfully.

Serve Index LLC provides legal support services, including obtaining a foreign or out-of-state subpoena and domesticating subpoenas nationwide, serving them to even the most evasive recipients.

Strengthen your case by securing witnesses and evidence with the help of subpoena domestication. Get in touch with our process servers by calling 1-888-994-6399 or submitting a request for a quote today.

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