The State of New Jersey simplifies the procedure to convert and domesticate a foreign state’s subpoena

As of September 1, 2014, The New Jersey Supreme Court has amended Rule 4:11-4 to provide a new section, R. 4:11-4(b), incorporating the concept of the UIDDA, simplifying the procedure for issuing foreign deposition subpoenas consistent with the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA).

The Uniform Law Commission, formerly the National Council of Commissioners on Uniforms State Laws promulgated the UIDDA in 2007. The Act sets forth an efficient and inexpensive procedure for civil litigants to depose out-of-state individuals and for the production of discoverable materials that may be located out-of-state.  31 states have adopted the UIDDA, some verbatim, others with variations in their wording.

Under the new law, litigants present to a clerk of the court located in the state and county where discoverable materials are sought with a subpoena issued by a court in the trial state. Once the clerk receives the foreign subpoena, the clerk will sign a domesticated subpoena for service upon the person or entity on which the original subpoena is directed. The terms of the issued subpoena must incorporate the same terms as the original subpoena and contain the contact information for all counsel of record and any party not represented by counsel.

The Act requires minimal judicial oversight and eliminates the need for obtaining a commission or local counsel in the discovery state, letters rogatory, or the filing of a miscellaneous action during the discovery phase of litigation. Discovery authorized by the subpoena is to comply with the rules of state in which it occurs. Furthermore, motions to quash, enforce, or modify a subpoena issued pursuant to the Act shall be brought in and governed by the rules the discovery state.

New Jersey R. 4:11-4(b) incorporates this concept and provides, additionally, that not only the clerk of Superior Court in the county where the discovery is to take place may issue the foreign subpoena.  Thus, an out-of-state litigant has two choices; file the request(s) with the clerk of court in the appropriate county, and pay filing fees, or have a New Jersey attorney prepare and issue the subpoena(s).  Service of subpoenas, in either case, would be arranged through local process servers.