Our Michigan personal injury law firm is frequently contacted by attorneys from other states seeking to get an out of state Subpoena issued in Michigan for cases pending in other states.
This process used to be tedious, time consuming, and expensive. However, it is now an easy procedure to undertake and can be done by an out of state attorney that is not licensed practice law in Michigan.
Michigan’s Uniform Interstate and Discovery Act
On April 1, 2013, the State of Michigan adopted the Uniform Interstate Discovery Act. The statute is referenced at MCL 600.2201.
Prior to that adoption, out of state litigants were required to file a new lawsuit in Michigan for the sole purpose of having a subpoena issued by the court.
The Act now sets forth the process for requesting a court issue a subpoena for a court case pending in another state.
The request for the subpoena does not require the clerk of the court to create a new case, so there will be no case code assigned to the matter.
In addition, the clerk of the court should not collect a fee when the sole purpose of a request is only to issue a subpoena.
Common Cases Involving Out of State Subpoenas
A subpoena can be issued in any type of lawsuit or administrative action. They are commonly issued in:
- Personal injury cases involving car accidents, medical malpractice, and wrongful death;
- Business litigation, including contracts, shareholder agreements, and shareholder disputes;
- Product liability cases, such dangerous toys, exploding products, and defective medical devices;
- Family law matters, including divorce, custody, paternity, and child support;
- Sexual assault cases, such as against doctors, clergy, and universities.
- Employment law cases for wrongful discharge and sexual harassment.
In many cases, the appearance of a witness is demanded for a deposition. In other cases, the subpoena demands the production of documents, like medical records or cell phone records.
The Procedure for Getting A Subpoena Issued in Michigan
To get your Subpoena issued in Michigan, you need to comply with the following:
Step 1: Determine the Proper County
Requests for subpoenas must be made in the county circuit court where discovery is sought. Discovery can only be sought in the county where a person lives, works, transacts business, or is found. Therefore, if you want to subpoena records from a business in Detroit, you must make your request in the Wayne County Circuit Court located in Detroit, Michigan.
Michigan has both circuit Courts and district courts. It is important that you only request your subpoena through the circuit court, as the act specifies it must be made in that court.
Michigan has 57 circuit courts located throughout the state. The circuit courts handle all civil cases with claims more than $25,000 and all felony criminal cases. Divorce and family law cases are also handled in the circuit, but many courts have a separate Family Law Division. All divisions typically share the same clerk of the court for case filings, as well as for all other legal pleadings.
You will need to determine which county to file your request for a subpoena. A map of all circuit court and district courts in the state can be helpful in identifying the proper county courthouse to file your paperwork. You can also just research a particular city to determine its county.
Step 2: Submit Your Subpoena
Once you determine the proper county, you must submit your out-of-state subpoena to the clerk of the circuit court. The court clerk must then issue a subpoena to be served on the person who is the subject of the foreign subpoena. The subpoena must contain the following information:
- The terms of the out-of-state subpoena. This includes the date, time, and location for the person to appear or items to be produced. Also, the names of any individuals requested to appear either to testify at deposition or to produce the items, such as a keeper of records.
- Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record. It should also include the same information for any party not represented by an attorney.
You should research any filing requirements for the particular circuit court. Some courts require filing in person or by mail, and others have e-filing procedures. For example, both the Oakland County Circuit Court and the Wayne County Circuit Court require all filings be online. Their websites specify their own filing procedures that must be strictly followed by litigants.
Step 3: Serving Your Subpoena
Once the subpoena has been issued, the next step is to serve the subpoena on the deponent. In Michigan, it can be served by any legally competent adult who is not a party to the matter or an officer of a corporate party. The manner of service is specified under MCR 2.105:
- Delivering a summons and a copy of the complaint to the defendant personally; or
- Mailing a copy by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and delivery restricted to the addressee. Service is made when the defendant acknowledges receipt of the mail. You can use the signed green certified card as proof of service.
There are other service of process issues that you should fully research in advance to make sure you are complying with the court rules. If improper service is made, it will be objectionable.
Many attorneys prefer having subpoenas personally served to avoid potential objections. You can locate a process server online or have it done by a local Sheriff Department.
Step 4: Send a Copy to All Interested Parties
You must serve a copy of the subpoena on all parties, whether represented by an attorney or acting in pro per. The party can then determine if it needs to seek court intervention on the issue.
For example, a party or even the deponent can file a motion requesting a protective order or order to quash with the circuit court. There are filing fees associated with these motions.
Step 5: Sharing the Documents
It is common practice to share copies of all documents and items with the other parties. If reproduction will be costly, it is acceptable to request a reasonable reimbursement from all parties.
If you follow these processes and procedures, you should be able issue an out of state subpoena in Michigan without any problems. If you encounter any issues, the clerks at the circuit courthouses are usually very friendly and helpful. Best of luck and happy hunting.