You Have Been Served! Domesticating Subpoenas in Ohio

Ohio’s Adoption of the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act

Legal practitioners looking to domesticate foreign state court civil subpoenas in Ohio should be aware of some changes that recently went into effect in Ohio after adoption of the Uniform Law Commission’s multi-state legal discovery framework for subpoenas, now set forth in revised R.C. § 2319.09.  That framework, grounded in principles of comity and judicial efficiency, expressly repealed the prior statutes governing the conduct of foreign discovery in Ohio.

Recent Changes to R.C. § 2319.09

In the past, some Ohio case law suggested that Ohio courts lacked jurisdiction to enforce certain aspects of domesticated subpoenas, see, e.g., Fischer Brewing Co. v. Flax, 138 Ohio App.3d 92, 740 N.E.2d 351, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 2237 ¶ (8th Dist.) (“We do not view the court’s power under R.C. 2319.09 as extending any further than enforcing the implementation of the foreign discovery order.”).  With its recent adoption of the Uniform Interstate Deposition Act, Ohio law now makes clear that, once properly domesticated in Ohio, a civil subpoena issued under R.C. § 2319.09 carries with it all of the discovery obligations set forth in the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure:

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(E)  The Ohio Rule of Civil Procedure and any statutes relating to service of subpoenas and compliance with subpoenas to attend and give testimony, [and] produce [documents] * * * shall apply to subpoenas issued under division (C) of this section.

(F)  An application to the court for a protective order or to enforce, quash, or modify a subpoena issued by a clerk of court under division (C) of this section shall comply with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and be submitted to the court in the county in which discovery is to be conducted.

(Emphasis added.) R.C. § 2319.09(E)-(F).  Civ.R. 45(E) states that “[f]ailure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that party may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued.”

Procedural Steps

The procedure for domesticating a foreign subpoena is relatively straightforward, though local practices tend to vary.  The requesting party should submit the foreign subpoena to a clerk of court in the county where Ohio discovery is sought, which should then be promptly incorporated by the clerk into an Ohio subpoena for service upon the person from whom discovery is sought.  R.C. § 2319.09(C).

Mulhall Zion LLC

Mulhall Zion LLC has developed extensive experience with this revised process in Ohio and can help to assist clients in navigating local discovery requirements:  Please contact us at (216) 586-4278 if you have a need for local counsel to assist with domestication and service of foreign subpoenas in Ohio.

Mulhall Zion LLC is a boutique law office with practices in Ohio and Maryland, providing businesses and individuals highly-focused legal advocacy and a collaborative attorney-client experience.  Clients’ needs and efficient resolution of litigation or transaction matters are the foundation of the practice philosophy.  With depth of experience and training at the country’s highest and most competitive tier of law schools, private law firms, Fortune 10 companies and federal law enforcement agencies, clients (big or small) secure the highest quality of legal representation at a cost only a boutique practice can provide.

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