Conducting out-of-state discovery can be a time-consuming process, but it has become increasingly necessary. With the growth of internet-facilitated commerce, interstate discovery is on the rise. Fortunately, the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA) can help standardize the process of compelling testimony and evidence from out-of-state parties.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you need to know about the UIDDA and offer some tips to help you address common concerns. Let’s get started!
What is the UIDDA?
Originally developed in 2007 by the Uniform Law Commission, the UIDDA harmonizes the out-of-state subpoena process for state court cases with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45. These standardized rules have been adopted by 47 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The rule is currently under consideration in Missouri. For the most up-to-date information, the Uniform Law Commission publishes a chart showing which states have enacted the UIDDA, either by statute or court rule.
How UIDDA Changed the Game
Before the UIDDA was implemented, anyone seeking the testimony of an out-of-state witness would face an uphill battle. Attorneys were required to obtain court permission from the “trial state” where litigation was pending, as well as the “discovery state” where the witness or discovery materials were located. This meant that an attorney had to present a subpoena from the trial state court to the county clerk in the discovery state. Once the trial state subpoena was received, the county clerk would issue a local subpoena for service upon the person or entity sought in discovery. Under the UIDDA, this process has been streamlined and now more closely resembles the procedure for in-state witnesses.
Understanding Current UIDDA Procedure
For litigation between two UIDDA-compliant states, the attorney should first obtain and complete a subpoena form in the county or district where the witness lives. Once completed, it’s time to hire a process server in the discovery state. Companies like First Legal maintain a network of skilled process servers, available in locations across the country. After retaining a process server, the subpoena must be presented to the county clerk for issuance before the witness can be served.
While this procedure is still relatively complex, it is significantly more efficient than pre-UIDDA operations. Under the UIDDA, a subpoena request does not constitute an appearance in the state where the witness is located. This is critical because the out-of-state attorney does not need to be admitted pro hac vice or obtain local counsel.
Thanks for reading! We hope we’ve been able to share some of the ways that implementing the UIDDA can reduce the unnecessary complicity of interstate litigation. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it on social media!
When you plan your next deposition, don’t forget to take advantage of our plentiful deposition tools. We provide services including remote court reporting, concierge remote exhibit management, remote videography, and full-time tech support for your remote depositions, arbitrations, court hearings, trials, and other proceedings.