July 20, 2015 Practice Points

A Good Reminder to Always Double-Check Subpoenas

It is very easy to make a simple mistake that may cause unnecessary delay in a case.

By Jennifer Braster

When it comes to form pleadings or documents, such as subpoenas, it is very easy to make a simple mistake that may cause unnecessary delay in a case. The matter of HCAPS Conroe Affiliation Inc. v. Angelica Textile Servs. Inc. reminds attorneys to always double-check subpoenas before issuing. Case No. 3:15-cv-60-N-BN, 2015 WL 3867923 (N.D. Tex. June 22, 2015). In HCAPS, a party served a subpoena commanding both the production of documents and deposition at the party’s attorney’s office in Dallas, Texas.

However, unfortunately for that party, the subpoenaed entity did not regularly transact business within 100 miles of the attorney’s office, as its principal place of business was in Nashville, Tennessee, and its Texas office was in Houston. The court quashed the subpoena because it did not comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(c), which states that a subpoena may command production of documents “at a place within 100 miles of where the person . . . regularly transacts business,” and may command a person to attend a deposition only if “within 100 miles of where the person . . . regularly transacts business in person.” The court indicated it would not have quashed the document production had the subpoena allowed the subpoenaed party to produce documents in lieu of appearing pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(d)(2)(A). Because the subpoena required the party to produce documents at the attorney’s location in Dallas, Texas, it violated the geographical limits, and the court quashed the subpoena with respect to both the requested document production and deposition.

The case serves as an excellent reminder to always double check where the entity or individual resides. Confirming that information before issuing and serving the subpoena will avoid an unnecessary delay in the discovery process and attorney fees in defending against a motion to quash.

Jennifer Braster, Naylor & Braster, Las Vegas, NV

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