New Jersey adopted the Uniform Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act (UIDDA) on September 1, 2014, which involves discovery of non-parties for proceedings in other states.
The adoption of UIDDA has impacted New Jersey subpoena rules and has changed how parties issue subpoenas for either testimony or discovery in a state where the case did not originate. The aim of the UIDDA was to reduce both the cost and need to retain counsel in another state in order to serve a subpoena.
Prior to the UIDDA, there were many variances among the states regarding depositions in other states. Within New Jersey, court rules required the intervention of the court when deposing out-of-state witnesses who were not a party to the proceedings or when deposing New Jersey witnesses for another state’s proceeding.
Under this new uniform method, a litigant in a proceeding in another state can now issue a subpoena in New Jersey without retaining New Jersey counsel. This does not mean that the litigant can’t do so if they would like greater control over the timing and issuing of the subpoena, but there is no longer the legal requirement to.
Here is a paragraph from the State of New Jersey Law Revision Commission’s final report relating to the UIDDA which provides an example as to how the new process works:
“A witness in Florida needs to be deposed in preparation for a Kansas trial. Under the UIDDA, a lawyer of record for the plaintiff in the Kansas action issues a subpoena in Kansas as the lawyer routinely would issue in pending actions. That lawyer then obtains a copy of a form of subpoena from the clerk’s office in the Florida county where the witness to be deposed lives. Using the Florida subpoena form, the lawyer prepares a Florida subpoena that incorporates the terms and conditions of the Kansa subpoena. The lawyer then arranges tor the executed Kansas subpoena, along with the completed by not yet executed Florida subpoena, to be delivered to the clerk’s office in Florida. The transmittal letter advises the clerk that the Florida subpoena is being sought pursuant to the Florida statute (citing the appropriate statute or rule quoting the UIDDA). The clerk of the court issues a Florida subpoena incorporating the terms and conditions of the Kansas subpoena and a process server, in accordance with Florida law, then serves the Florida subpoena on the deponent. Appropriate filing and service fees are paid as required by Florida law.”
When choosing a New Jersey process server, make sure they are knowledgeable about these rule changes and how it impacts service.