A subpoena is a legal document that requires a person to appear in court or produce documents. It is a powerful tool used in legal proceedings to gather evidence or testimony. However, subpoenas are only effective within the jurisdiction where they were issued. If you need to enforce a subpoena outside of that jurisdiction (aka a “foreign subpoena”), you must domesticate it. Domestication is the process of making a subpoena valid in another jurisdiction. In this article, we’ll discuss how to domesticate out-of-state subpoenas, including what it means, why it’s necessary, and how to do it.
What is Domestication of an Out-of-State (Foreign) Subpoena?
Domestication is the process of making a legal document valid in another jurisdiction. In the context of subpoenas, it means making a subpoena issued in one state or jurisdiction valid in another. This is necessary because subpoenas are only valid within the jurisdiction where they were issued. If you need to enforce a subpoena in another state or jurisdiction, you must domesticate it.
Why is Domestication Necessary?
Domestication is necessary because it allows you to enforce a subpoena in another state or jurisdiction. If you fail to domesticate a subpoena, it may not be enforceable, and you may not be able to use the evidence or testimony gathered through the subpoena. Domestication ensures that your legal proceedings are not hindered by jurisdictional issues.
In the past, attorneys would have to jump through quite a few hoops to get this done. Today, however, thanks to the The Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA), attorneys can now go directly to the courts in another jurisdiction rather than filing a new lawsuit or hiring co-counsel in that state to do the work for them.
How to Domesticate Subpoenas:
The process of domesticating subpoenas varies depending on the state or jurisdiction where the subpoena was issued and where you want to enforce it. However, the general steps for domesticating a subpoena are as follows:
a. Obtain a certified copy of the original subpoena: You must obtain a certified copy of the original subpoena from the court where it was issued. This copy must include the signature of the judge or clerk of the court.
b. Determine the requirements for domestication in the new jurisdiction: You must determine the requirements for domesticating a subpoena in the new jurisdiction. This may include filling out specific forms, paying fees, and providing certain documents.
A party seeking discovery in Oregon for a process occurring in another state must submit the following to the court in accordance with the Oregon Rule of Civil Procedure (ORCP) 38 C.:
- A descriptive title for the case.
- The proceeding’s case number from the foreign jurisdiction.
- The date the case was first filed in the foreign jurisdiction.
- The names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers of all lawyers of record and self-represented parties
c. File the subpoena in the new jurisdiction: You must file the certified copy of the original subpoena in the new jurisdiction where you want to enforce it. You may also need to file additional documents, such as an affidavit of service or a notice of deposition.
d. Serve the subpoena on the witness or custodian of records: Once the subpoena has been filed and accepted in the new jurisdiction, you must serve it on the witness or custodian of records. This may require the assistance of a process server or other legal professional.
Tips for Domesticating Subpoenas:
a. Consult with an attorney: Domesticating subpoenas can be a complicated process, and it’s important to ensure that you follow all of the necessary steps correctly. Consulting with an attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure that you are following all of the necessary steps.
b. Plan ahead: Domesticating subpoenas can take time, so it’s important to plan ahead and allow plenty of time for the process to be completed. This is especially important if you have a deadline for gathering evidence or testimony.
c. Follow all of the rules and requirements: Each state or jurisdiction has its own rules and requirements for domesticating subpoenas. It’s important to ensure that you follow all of these rules and requirements to ensure that your subpoena is enforceable.
d. Keep accurate records of all of the steps you take during the domestication process.
Here are some additional resources that you could look to as you domesticate your subpoenas:
State Rules of Civil Procedure: Each state has its own rules of civil procedure, which govern the process for domesticating subpoenas. You can find these rules on the website of the state court system or by consulting with an attorney.
The Oregon version of the UIDDA became effective January 1, 2014. ORCP 38. After the court clerk receives the foreign subpoena, they will assign a case number and issue the Oregon subpoena. Rule 38(C)(2(b). If a party retains an attorney licensed to practice in Oregon, the Oregon attorney can assist the clerk in drafting the subpoena. Although the request for a subpoena does not constitute an appearance in the court, it does allow the court to impose sanctions for violations of any applicable law in connection with the subpoena. Rule 38(C)(4). However, any motion related to the subpoena must be submitted to the court in the county where discovery is sought and does constitute an appearance in the court. Rule 38(C)(5).
Local Court Rules: In addition to state rules, some jurisdictions have local court rules that govern the process for domesticating subpoenas. These rules can be found on the website of the local court or by consulting with an attorney.
Forms: Many jurisdictions have specific forms that must be used when domesticating subpoenas. You can find these forms on the website of the state or local court system, or by consulting with an attorney.
Process Servers: In many cases, you will need to serve the subpoena on the witness or custodian of records in the new jurisdiction. You can find a process server through a professional association, such as the National Association of Professional Process Servers. (We here at Solid Serve Legal are members of NAPPS and do serve subpoenas for our clients.)
Legal Aid Organizations: If you cannot afford an attorney to assist with domesticating subpoenas, you may be able to receive assistance from a legal aid organization. These organizations provide free or low-cost legal services to individuals who cannot afford an attorney.
Online Legal Resources: There are many online legal resources that can provide information about the process for domesticating subpoenas. These resources include legal blogs, legal websites, and online legal forums.
Case Law: In some cases, there may be case law that is relevant to the process for domesticating subpoenas in a particular jurisdiction. You can search for case law on legal research websites, such as LexisNexis or Westlaw.