Out-of-State Subpoenas: Practice Pointer No. 2

by Rebecca on August 2, 2010

In the three years since my article Best Practices for Issuing Subpoenas: Depositions of Georgia Residents in Cases Pending Out of State was published, I’ve been helping out-of-state counsel issue, serve, and enforce out-of-state subpoenas. And almost every case teaches me something new. I began the series with Practice Pointer No. 1:  It is Georgia law that applies to service of subpoenas. And cost matters. The series continues below.

2.  If personally serving the subpoena, use the best process server you can find, and tell them exactly what you need.

Georgia law states that “[a] subpoena may be served by any sheriff, by his deputy, or by any other person not less than 18 years of age.” O.C.G.A. § 24-10-23. But that law sets the minimum requirement.

While you don’t need a “process server” to serve a subpoena, I prefer to use process servers with experience and ones that I can trust to deliver it correctly. I also look for process servers that are members of Georgia Association of Professional Process Servers or National Association of Professional Process Servers.  And I look for process servers that are recommended by colleagues.

If you decide to personally serve your subpoena, remember that, for Georgia state courts, substituted service is not good service of subpoenas. Be sure that the process server you are working with understands that you are serving a subpoena—not a complaint—which must be personally served.

Before you hire the process server, be sure that the process server will execute an affidavit of service for you so that you can enforce the subpoena if necessary. If the process server is helping you issue the subpoena, be sure that he provides you a copy of the issued subpoena with that affidavit of service.

I’ve had a case where I have been asked to enforce a subpoena that was not served properly, and the client incurred additional expense to correct the mistake. So look on GAPPS and NAPPS, ask colleagues for recommendations, and then talk with the process server to fully explain your project. Ensuring technically correct service will give you a subpoena that you can enforce—you may still discuss the scope of the subpoena, but you are better off talking about the substance of the subpoena than the validity.

If I can help you issue, serve, or enforce an out-of-state subpoena in Georgia, contact me. I am also providing certain out-of-state subpoena services at a flat rate. Call me or you can click on the red Appointment tab to the right to set a time to talk with me.

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