Party May Be Served with Trial Subpoena Despite Living Out of State and More than 100 Miles from Courthouse

Permitting the plaintiff to serve a trial subpoena on a distant individual defendant, the Court in Clark v. Wilkin, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18419 (D. Utah March 10, 2008) noted a split on the issue:

While there is a split among courts on this issue, the majority of courts, including this Court, have found that when a subpoena is served upon a party to the suit, the 100 mile rule does not apply. These cases suggest that the 100 mile rule is limited by Rule 45(c)(3)(A)(ii), which is the rule regarding quashing or modifying a subpoena. That part of the rule provides that "on timely motion, the issuing court must quash or modify a subpoena that: . . . requires a person who is neither a party nor a party's officer to travel more than 100 miles from where that person resides, is employed, or regularly transacts business in person. The express application of this provision to persons who are not parties suggests that parties do not fall under the 100 mile rule.

The majority view is supported by the Second Circuit's observation that "[t]he purpose of the 100 mile exception is to protect such witnesses from being subjected to excessive discovery burdens in litigation in which they have little or no interest." Parties to a suit have great interest in its outcome; therefore, the purpose behind the 100 mile rule does not apply to them. Further, other parties and the Court have an interest in the appearance of parties at trial, which is a further reason the 100 mile limitation should not apply to parties.

[Numerous citations omitted.] The Court observed that the party served with the trial subpoena had recourse to seek a Rule 26(c) protective order in appropriate circumstances.

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