- CURRENT AS OF: Sep 2nd 2014
This Subpoena Guide covers generally applicable statewide rules of practice regarding subpoenas in Oregon trial courts. Local jurisdictions often have their own rules and procedures developed by judges and clerks that are not reduced to writing, and are subject to change at any time, especially regarding subpoenas to foreign witnesses and subpoenas for use in foreign actions. Therefore, it is always recommended that you consult the clerk's office for the court under whose authority the subpoena will be issued.
Depositions may be taken by the defendant at any time after commencement of the action and by the plaintiff once the time for defendant to appear and answer has expired. The plaintiff need not wait for the expiration of the answer period to notice or subpoena a deposition if the defendant has already done so or if the plaintiff is using rule authorized procedures to depose a party about to leave the state. OR RCP 39A.
A subpoena must be served so as to allow the witness a reasonable time for preparation and attendance. OR RCP 55D(1).
A subpoena seeking testimony from a current Oregon peace officer regarding a matter related to his or her employment as a peace officer must be served at least 10 days before the scheduled appearance. OR RCP 55D(2).
A subpoena commanding production or inspection and copying of documents or tangible things or to permit inspection of premises, whether or not joined with a command to appear at trial, or at hearing, or at deposition, must be served on all parties to the case at least 7 days before it is served on the subpoenaed person, unless the court orders a shorter time. The subpoena must allow the person at least 14 days after service to comply, unless a shorter time has been ordered by the court. OR RCP 55D(1).
A person served with a subpoena to produce or permit inspection and copying of documents and things must object, if at all, within 14 days after service of the subpoena. However, if the subpoena specifies a time for production/inspection that is sooner than 14 days after service, objections may be served at any time up until the time specified for production/inspection. OR RCP 55B.
Oregon rules define a subpoena as a writ or order directed to a person that may require attendance at a particular time and place to testify as a witness on behalf of a particular party, or may require the production of books, papers, documents or tangible things or inspection of them at a particular time and place. OR RCP 55A.
For cases pending in Oregon, subpoenas may be issued, signed but otherwise in blank, by the clerk of court, and delivered to any party requesting the subpoena for completion and service. OR RCP 55C(2). Subpoenas may also be issued by the judge or by the attorney for the subpoenaing party. OR RCP 55C(1).
The clerk is authorized to issue a subpoena upon proof of proper service of a notice of deposition or notice of subpoena duces tecum. In the alternative, filing of a certificate that the notice will be served if the subpoena can be served is sufficient grounds for issuing the subpoena. OR RCP 55F(1).
An Oregon resident may be required to attend a deposition or make production only in the county where he or she resides or is employed or regularly transacts business in person, or at a convenient place designated by court order.
A nonresident of Oregon may only be required be required to attend a deposition or make production in the county where he or she was served or at a convenient place designated by court order. OR RCP 55F(2).
A subpoena requiring attendance to testify as a witness requires that the witness remains available until the testimony is closed unless the court discharges the witness sooner. However, at the end of each day's attendance, the witness may demand payment of legal witness fees for the following day. If the subpoenaing party does not pay the fees, the witness is not obliged to remain in attendance. OR RCP 55A.
A party who issues a subpoena may command the person to whom it is issued to produce books, papers, documents, or tangible things, other than individually identifiable health information as described in section H, by mail or otherwise, at a time and place specified in the subpoena, without commanding inspection of the originals or a deposition. In such instances, the person to whom the subpoena is directed complies if the person produces copies of the specified items in the specified manner and certifies that the copies are true copies of all the items responsive to the subpoena or, if all items are not included, why they are not. OR RCP 55F(3).
Oregon has complex and detailed requirements for subpoenas seeking the production of individually identifiable health information from hospitals and other medical records custodians. It is strongly recommended that out-of-state practitioners retain local counsel with experience in this area to pursue such discovery.
A person commanded to produce and permit inspection and copying has the right to timely serve a written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials or of the premises. If such an objection is made, the subpoenaing party will not be entitled to inspect and copy the materials or inspect the premises except pursuant to an order of the court by which the subpoena was issued. OR RCP 55B.
On timely motion, the court by which a subpoena was issued will quash, modify or place reasonable conditions on a subpoena for production if it is unreasonable or oppressive. OR RCP 55B.
Disobedience to a subpoena or a refusal to be sworn or answer as a witness may be punished as contempt by a court before whom the action is pending or by the judge or justice issuing the subpoena. Upon hearing or trial, if the witness is a party and disobeys a subpoena or refuses to be sworn or answer as a witness, such party's complaint, answer, or reply may be stricken. OR RCP 55G.
To request issuance of a foreign subpoena, a party or attorney shall submit a foreign subpoena to a clerk of court in the county in which discovery is sought to be conducted in this state. OR RCP 38C (amended eff 12/11/10).
For cases pending outside the state of Oregon in which a deposition is to be taken in Oregon, subpoenas must be issued by the circuit court clerk of the county where the witness will be examined. OR RCP 55C(1)(c) (amended eff 12/13/08).
Subpoenas must state the name court and the title of the action. OR RCP 55A.
There is no recommended or mandated form provided by the court. A sample of an acceptable subpoena for Marion County may be viewed online at:
The fee schedule is not available online at this time. Contact the court at 503.986.5582 for current information on subpoena issuance fees.
Unless the subpoena is at issue in a discovery dispute or contempt proceeding, subpoenas customarily are not filed with the court.
Service of a subpoena is made by delivering a copy to the subpoenaed person and, if attendance at a trial, hearing or deposition is commanded, by tendering the statutory witness fees for one day's attendance and the mileage allowed by law. Any person over eighteen (18) years old and not a party can make service. OR RCP 55D(1).
Mail service of a subpoena is permitted when:
The attorney certifies in connection with or upon the return of service that the attorney, or the attorney's agent, has had personal or telephone contact with the witness, and the witness indicated a willingness to appear at trial if subpoenaed. OR RCP 55D(3)(a).
The attorney, or the attorney's agent, made arrangements for payment to the witness of fees and mileage satisfactory to the witness. OR RCP 55D(3)(b).
The subpoena was mailed to the witness more than ten (10) days before trial by certified mail or some other designation of mail that provides a receipt for the mail signed by the recipient and the attorney received a return receipt signed by the witness more than three (3) days prior to trial. OR RCP 55D(3)(c).
Specialized Service Requirements for Certain Types of Witnesses
Oregon has particularized requirements for service of subpoenas on police officers, incarcerated persons and hospital record custodians. These requirements are extremely complex. It is highly recommended that out of state practitioners use local counsel for service on individuals in these categories.
Proof of Service
Proof of service of a subpoena is made in the same manner as proof of service of a summons except that the server need not certify that the server is not a party in the action, an attorney for a party in the action or an officer, director or employee of a party in the action. OR RCP 55D(5).
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