Changes to Interstate Discovery in New York

New York State, along with thirty-one (31) other U.S. States, have now adopted the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (“UIDDA”), promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (“NCCUSL”).  New York has codified the UIDDA rules in section 3119 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (See 31 C.P.L.R. 3119).

The UIDDA sets forth an efficient and inexpensive procedure for litigants to depose out of state individuals and obtain discoverable materials located in other states.  Before the enactment of the UIDDA in New York, practitioners seeking to obtain discovery located outside the state for use in a New York trial court were required to obtain a commission or letters rogatory from the New York trial court.  Attorneys were then required to proceed to the foreign jurisdiction in which the documents or witnesses were located to obtain a second order from the foreign court to enforce the New York commission and obtain the necessary discovery.  This lengthy process often required the assistance of local counsel and proved to be costly and time consuming.

By enacting the UIDDA, New York attorneys are now able to present a subpoena to the clerk of the court (in a state that has also enacted the UIDDA) where evidence and/or witnesses are located to obtain discovery.  The clerk of the court then issues the subpoena for service without the need for additional judicial intervention.  The terms of the subpoena must incorporate the same terms as would be required by local discovery laws in the state where discovery is sought, must include the contact information for all counsel of record and any party not represented by counsel, and must be served in accordance with the discovery state’s law.  Any motion to quash, enforce, or modify a subpoena issued pursuant to the UIDDA is to be brought in and governed by the rules of the state where the discovery is located.

The UIDDA eliminates the requirements of getting two (2) court orders authorizing discovery and is likely to lead to a much more efficient and cost effective discovery process by limiting judicial oversight and the need to obtain local counsel in the discovery state.

To read a copy of the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act click here.

To read a copy of Section 3119 of the the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules click here.

For more information about the interstate discovery process, please do not hesitate to call on us at