Some cases require the presence of witnesses or depositions based in state lines outside the jurisdiction. When this happens, lawyers must secure a foreign subpoena issued by a county clerk. This compels an individual to testify or a company to provide relevant information.
However, the process of domesticating subpoenas is often long and complex. Because it involves two separate jurisdictions, you need to consider various legislative acts and two different Rules of Civil Procedure.
You’re gathering evidence, formulating strategies, and building a strong case. In all likelihood, you just don’t have the time to go to another state to serve a subpoena. Unfortunately, subpoenas are time-sensitive and have court-imposed deadlines, so you need to deliver them as soon as possible.
However, you neither have to go to another state in person nor waste valuable time and effort learning its process service rules. Have Serve Index LLC’s experienced process servers domesticate and serve your out-of-state subpoena instead.
We have been assisting courts, law firms, solo-practice attorneys, civilians, and corporations, with a wide range of legal support services. You can have your out-of-state subpoena served to any state that has adopted the UIDDA. You’ll save time, avoid legal fees, and have documents delivered on time.
Utilize our extensive experience and vast industry knowledge to ensure your subpoena is enforceable. Contact Serve Index LLC to get a quote for our services.
Why Do Subpoenas Need to Be Domesticated
You’re limited by the power of your state court’s jurisdiction when you need to get documents or deposition for your case. That means subpoenas aren’t enforceable outside it. To make it enforceable in a different state, it needs to be domesticated.
As said before, domesticating a subpoena can be complicated due to differing state laws. Even the domestication process might be different. However, it is often unavoidable as information, medical records, or testimony from an out-of-state witness could be critical to winning a case.
Due to the aforementioned reasons, the Uniform Law Commission made efforts to standardize the process by promulgating the Uniform Interstate and International Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA).
Domesticating and Serving Out-of-State Subpoenas
Traditional Methods of Subpoena Domestication
There are still a handful of states that have not adopted the UIDDA and have no plans of doing so in the future:
- New Hamshire
You will need to utilize traditional domestication methods to serve subpoenas in these states, and they vary significantly. For example, some require you to file an application with the county clerk where the recipient lives. In others, you may need a court order.
Fortunately, all states besides the six mentioned above have adopted the UIDDA. The subpoena domestication process in those states is much easier.
Subpoena Domestication Under the UIDDA
Due to the risks and complications of domesticating a subpoena, the Uniform Interstate and International Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA) was established to simplify how subpoenas are served across states.
For more information about the UIDDA, you may refer to the New York Consolidated Laws, Civil Practice Law and Rules CPLR 3119.
The UIDDA outlines what a subpoena requires a person to do, how to domesticate an out-of-state subpoena upon submission to a county clerk, and what a domesticated subpoena should include. It effectively standardizes the process, making it much easier to serve subpoenas between states.
You will find the UIDDA within a state’s law. While it may be assigned different codes, it contains the same information, regardless of where you find it.
A standard process for domesticating subpoenas is critical for litigators. Some legal documents are time-sensitive, and the UIDDA allows them to gather evidence and depositions quickly before a court date.
Prior to the implementation of the UIDDA, you had to hire another lawyer in the jurisdiction where the witness is based. Today, you only need to have a subpoena reissued by a clerk of the court in that state.
Step 1: Issuing a Domesticated Subpoena
The first step involves submitting the foreign subpoena to the clerk of court in the jurisdiction where the relevant witnesses or evidence are located.
After receiving the foreign subpoena, the clerk will issue the subpoena for service following the court’s specific rules and procedure.
Step 2: Serving the Subpoena
The Rules of Civil Procedure to be followed will depend on the jurisdiction where the subpoena is being served in. If you are serving documents in one state for a case in another, you are mandated to follow the former’s Rules of Civil Procedure.
Similarly, once the subpoena has been served, any testimony, deposition, and retrieval of documents must be accomplished in line with the laws of the state in which discovery is being carried out.
The UIDDA, however, only works between states that have both enacted it. If the jurisdiction where you aim to seek discovery does not recognize the UIDDA, the process of domesticating a subpoena will be different.
The passing of the UIDDA creates an affordable and streamlined way to collect information and advance a case. Today 44 states recognize the UIDDA. Thanks to this, litigators can swiftly and seamlessly depose individuals, acquire evidence, and request the presence of witnesses from other jurisdictions.
States that have adopted the UIDDA include: