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How Do You Obtain an Out-of-State Subpoena or Take a Foreign Deposition?

Out-of-State Subpoena

Why is this an issue? A subpoena only has its power in the state where it is issued. Thus, if you have a Missouri lawsuit but need to subpoena a Kansas witness, you will need to get a valid Kansas subpoena for example.

Our office frequently gets requested to assist with serving subpoenas for business records and/or taking an out of state deposition in Kansas or Missouri. When and why does this occur? Often, when a lawsuit is pending in Kansas or Missouri (right on state lines in the Kansas City area), a witness is needed for important testimony for a Missouri case, but the witness lives in Kansas, or the case is pending in Missouri but the witness lives and works in Missouri. In this circumstance, in order to have an effective subpoena, a subpoena case must be opened and the testimony that needs to be received must be taken within the state that the witness or business needs to be subpoenaed. The subpoena must be domesticated in the state where the witness or business is in order to obtain the relevant testimony or evidence.

What is the Uniform International Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDD)?

Most states have enacted it as the UIDD is a federal law. This uniform law helps expedite and simplify the process of domesticating out of state subpoenas. In order for the UIDD to apply, both, the case that needs to obtain the information (the out of state case) and the state where the witness or business are located must be in states that have adopted the Act. Kansas has enacted the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act under K.S.A. 60-228, whereas, Missouri is in the process of enacting it. A House Bill has been introduced a couple of times, but will need to be finalized before the UIDD can be enacted/recognized in Missouri. When states have enacted the UIDD, the process of domesticating foreign subpoenas is designed to be simple. The subpoena must be completed in the jurisdiction where the case/litigation is pending. The process server would then be able to go to the clerk in the state in which the individual or business needs to be subpoenaed and ask that clerk to issue a duplicate subpoena so the witness can be served. Following that, the subpoena must be served in the witness’ or business’ home/residence state and the discovery (generally requesting records or documents or presentation of testimony through an out-of-state deposition must take place in that state).

How Can Our Office Help?

We have had the opportunity to serve as local counsel to take depositions of witnesses or obtain records through a records deposition for many cases, including as far away as California, New York, Massachusetts, Alaska and Hawaii! It is important that the procedures of both, the state where the lawsuit is pending, as well as the state where the discovery is desired are followed carefully. Frequently, notices have to be issued in the pending litigation of the actions being taken with a subpoena in the foreign jurisdiction (Kansas or Missouri). Often, when this special kind of discovery is obtained, it is important that the attorney taking care of the primary litigation and the local counsel assisting with the discovery carefully collaborate with one another to make sure that the rules of both jurisdictions are being carefully followed. For example, if one jurisdiction requires fourteen days’ notice of the deposition, and another jurisdiction requires ten days’ notice, it is important that the rule of the longer period be followed. Further collaboration is needed between the lawyer who filed the initial lawsuit and the local counsel to make sure that the subpoena is completed in the manner expected for the needed discovery items. It is also generally important that the local counsel and the litigation counsel collaborate with one another about the goals of the deposition, the discovery being sought, the evidence, if any, needed and a plan to confer either throughout or during the deposition. Frequently, in our office, when we serve as local counsel, we will ask the primary/litigation counsel to participate in the deposition over video conference by listening to the deposition and emailing/transmitting questions as they believe follow-up questions are necessary throughout the course of the deposition.

Can our office serve as local counsel for a case you are litigating? If so, please send us an email at with the information about your request and we will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible. It is a privilege for our office to have a network of wonderful attorneys all over the United States that we are able to collaborate with in serving as local counsel when the discovery needs of those out-of-state cases touch a witness or evidence in Kansas or Missouri. We are looking forward to hearing from you or your law firm to see how we may be able to work together!