Rule 45 Changes – What You Need to Know

3/7/2014

As of December 1, 2013, the new changes to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are now in effect. These changes have streamlined and simplified issuing and serving subpoenas, as well as enforcing their compliance, in Federal Courts.

Issuing Court – Under the new Rule 45, subpoenas are issued from the court where the action is pending. Attorneys who wish to obtain subpoenas no longer have to obtain a subpoena from the court where a trial is to take place, where a deposition is to occur, or where production or inspection of documents is required.

Notice – The Advisory Committee noted that parties often did not comply with the notice requirements of the former Rule 45. In an effort to increase visibility, the new Rule 45 places the notice requirement in the beginning of the rule. If the subpoena requires “the production of documents, electronically stored information, or tangible things or the inspection of premises before trial,” notice and a copy of the subpoena must be served on each party before service on the person to whom the subpoena is directed.

Where Subpoenas May Be Served – The new Rule 45 eliminates the previous version’s geographical limitations restricting where the subpoena may be served. Subpoenas may now be served anywhere within the United States.

Where Compliance May Be Required – Like the former Rule 45, the new Rule 45 imposes certain distance requirements for where compliance with a subpoena may be required. A subpoena may generally command a person to attend a trial, hearing, or deposition “within 100 miles of where the person resides, is employed, or regularly transacts business in person.” A litigant may also compel a person’s attendance at a trial, hearing, or deposition in that person’s state of residence when that person is a party or a party’s officer, or if a command to attend a trial would not incur substantial expense. In addition, the new Rule 45 retains the same 100 mile limit to restrict where production of documents of tangible things may occur.

Subpoena Disputes – Previously, motions to quash or modify subpoenas were heard in the issuing court. Because subpoenas are now issued from the court where the action is pending (see above), the new Rule 45 requires these motions to be heard in the district court for the district where compliance is required.

For questions regarding the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, contact Callan Albritton at calbritton@wiandlaw.com or 813.347.5139.