Effective December 24, 2012, Pennsylvania became the 29th state to adopt the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA). The UIDDA is a model uniform law that allows out of state litigants to obtain discovery in Pennsylvania quickly and in a more cost efficient manner. Here is a link to to the act as adopted in Pennsylvania.
The procedure to obtain a Pennsylvania subpoena under the UIDDA is simple and straightforward. Foreign litigants merely present the subpoena issued by the foreign state to the prothonotary's (clerk's office) office in the county where the person subject to the subpoena resides. After payment of a nominal fee and compliance with a few local rules, the prothonotary will issue a subpoena for service. The best part of the UIDDA is that foreign litigants do not need to hire local counsel, nor do they have to have their counsel admitted pro hac vice to obtain the subpoena. The process of obtaining a foreign subpoena under the UIDDA will not constitute the unauthorized practice of law.
Prior to the adoption of the UIDDA, if a litigant in California (for example) wanted to compel the appearance of an individual in Pennsylvania to appear for a deposition, the California issued subpoena alone was not enough. The attorney in California would have to embark on a time consuming endeavor where they needed a California court to issue an order that asked a Pennsylvania court to issue a subpoena. This process could take months and get very expensive because once the California court issued the order; local counsel in Pennsylvania was required to obtain a local order asking the Pennsylvania court to issue the local subpoena.
The point to take away from the adoption of the UIDDA is that third party discovery just became very streamlined and considerably less expensive. However, third party discovery conflicts still happen and you may find the need to have the Pennsylvania court enforce the terms of the subpoena or find yourself having to defend against a protective order. In either case, ensuring compliance with the subpoena will require local counsel and the attorneys at Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt, PC are available to help you navigate the maze that is Pennsylvania discovery. If you have any questions concerning the UIDDA, or need assistance with third party discovery generally, please feel free to contact Douglas Leavitt at Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt, PC.