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.
Fortunately, you don’t need to visit New York to serve a subpoena in person. Nor do you have to spend countless hours learning the process service rules of the state. At Serve Index LLC, our experienced process servers can help you domesticate an out-of-state subpoena and have it served promptly and accurately.
For years, Serve Index LLC has been assisting courts, law firms, solo-practice attorneys, corporations and civilians with domesticating subpoenas, among other legal support services. We oversee the entire process so our clients can focus on research and case preparations. Our vast experience and industry knowledge can help you save thousands of dollars in legal fees and ensure that your subpoena is enforceable in New York.
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.
CPLR 3119 outlines what a subpoena requires a person to do, how an out-of-state subpoena can be domesticated 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.
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 California for a case in New York, you are mandated to follow California’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, including New York, recognize the UIDDA. Thanks to the UIDDA, litigators can swiftly and seamlessly depose individuals, acquire evidence, and request the presence of witnesses from other jurisdictions.
As of now, states that have yet to implement the UIDDA include:
- New Hampshire
While not officially states, it’s worth noting that the U.S. Virgin Islands has implemented the UIDDA and Puerto Rico has not.
To domesticate a subpoena in these states, a request must be made with the local court. The application involves filing a petition and submitting related documents to the court. In some cases, you may have to hire an attorney to file a formal petition. Domestication laws vary from state to state. It’s vital to inquire with the local court before carrying out any work.