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Massachusetts law about subpoenas

A compilation of laws, rules, and web sources on subpoenas in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts rules

MRCP 45: Subpoenas

  • Rule 45(a). For attendance of witnesses; form; issuance
  • Rule 45 (b). Combining or separating a command to produce or to permit inspection; specifying the form for electronically stored information
  • Rule 45(c). Service
  • Rule 45(d). Subpoenas for taking deposition and for command to produce; place of examination
  • Rule 45(e). Subpoena for a hearing or trial
  • Rule 45(f). Duties in responding to a subpoena
  • Rule 45(g). Contempt

Trial Court Rule IX: Uniform rules on subpoenas to court officials

  • Rule 1. Subpoena to a justice, magistrate or probation officer
  • Rule 2. Subpoena duces tecum to court officials
  • Rule 3. Subpoena duces tecum for records of the Office of the Commissioner of Probation

Forms

Subpoenas, Mass. Legal Help. Includes:

Subpoena for documents only, Worcester Law Library.

See Print Sources, below, for additional forms.

Service providers

While Rule 45 provides that service can be made by "any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age," service can also be made by a Deputy Sheriff or Constable

Web sources

Are deposition subpoenas enforceable in Massachusetts civil cases?, Lynch & Owens P.C. (By James M. Lynch, June 9, 2017)
Reviews the “Massachusetts laws which give teeth to subpoenas in civil cases, including the issuance of bench warrants.”

The new "documents only" subpoena under recently amended Mass. R. Civ. P. 45, Boston Bar Journal, 2015.
Nice summary of the rule and procedure. 

Serving a subpoena, Mass. Legal Help.
A simple guide for those who want to serve a subpoena, includes directions and forms.

SJC changes subpoena rules for Massachusetts litigants, Schwartz Hannum PC, (September 2015)

Deposition and discovery request for use in another state

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c. 223A, §10
Taking depositions outside commonwealth; issuance of commissions or letters rogatory

MGL c. 223A, § 11 
Discovery within commonwealth for proceedings outside commonwealth

MGL c. 233, § 45 
Deposition for use in another state

Print sources

Civil practice 3rd. ed. (Mass. Practice v.9) Thomson/West, 2004 with supplement.
Chapter 22 Depositions. § 22.12 Subpoena for Taking Deposition, § 22.13 Depositions Upon Oral Examination-Failure to Attend or to Serve Subpoena-Expenses. Chapter 30 Summoning of Witnesses. § 30.2 Method of Summoning, § 30.3 Requirement That Witness Fee Be Paid or Tendered, § 30.4 Effect of Failure of Duly Summoned Witness to Attend.

Discovery 3rd. ed. (Mass. Practice v.49A) Thomson Reuters, 2017 with supplement.
Chapter 8 Depositions. § 8:4 Taking depositions outside Massachusetts in actions pending in Massachusetts courts-Generally; § 8:5 Taking depositions outside Massachusetts in actions pending in Massachusetts courts-Depositions in other states; § 8:6 Taking depositions outside Massachusetts in actions pending in Massachusetts courts-Depositions in foreign countries; § 8:7 Taking depositions in Massachusetts in out-of-state cases; § 8:74 Application for order for taking deposition in the Commonwealth for proceeding in tribunal outside Commonwealth pursuant to M.G.L. c. 223A, §11 and c. 233, §45;  § 8:75 Affidavit in support of application for order for taking deposition in Commonwealth for proceeding in tribunal outside Commonwealth pursuant to M.G.L. c. 223A, §11; § 8:76 Order for taking deposition in Commonwealth for proceeding in tribunal outside Commonwealth pursuant to M.G.L. c. 223A, §11.

Equitable remedies 3rd. ed. (Mass. Practice v.31) Thomson/West, 2007 with supplement. Chapter 5 Jurisdiction Quasi in Rem. § 5.7 “Long-arm” statute as affecting service on non-residents.

LexisNexis practice guide: Massachusetts civil pretrial practice, 2019 ed., LexisNexis.
Chapter 12. § 12.08 CHECKLIST: Compelling Witness’ Appearance and Production of Records at Trial By Subpoena; § 12.09 Compelling Appearance and Production of Documentary Evidence at Trial by Subpoena; § 12.10 Moving to Quash or Modify Subpoena.

LexisNexis practice guide: Massachusetts civil trial practice, 2019 ed., LexisNexis.
Chapter 1. § 1.15 Serving Trial Subpoena.

LexisNexis practice guide: Massachusetts e-discovery and evidence, 2019 ed., LexisNexis.
Chapter 4.  § 4.16 Understanding Meaning of “Unreasonable, Burdensome and Not Reasonably Accessible” in Context of ESI; Chapter 7. § 7.10 Obtaining ESI from Third Parties; Chapter 14. § 14.08 Meeting Requirements for Obtaining ESI from Non-Parties in Massachusetts State Court Litigation; § 14.14 Paying for Production of ESI from Non-Party.

Massachusetts pleading and practice: forms and commentary, v.6, Matthew Bender, looseleaf, Chapter 45-Rule 45. Subpoena. Forms included:

  • § 45.1 Subpoena for Deposition for Testimony and/or to Produce Documents or Things-Form
  • § 45.2 – Subpoena for Attendance of Witness at Hearing or Trial and/or to Produce Documents or Things-Form
  • § 45.3 Order for Taking Deposition of Witness at Convenient Place Other Than Residence or Place of Employment or Business-Form
  • § 45.4 Motion to Quash or Modify Subpoena Duces Tecum-Form
  • § 45.5 Motion by Non-Party to Modify Subpoena Duces Tecum-Form
  • § 45.6 Motion to Quash Subpoena for Production of Documents-Form
  • § 45.7 Motion by Non-Party to Quash Subpoena for the Production of Documents as Unduly Burdensome-Form
  • § 45.7.1 Motion and Memorandum to Quash Subpoena for Production of Documents and for Protective Order-Privileged Information-Form
  • § 45.7.2 Opposition to Motion to Quash Subpoena to Produce Evidence-Form
  • § 45.7.3 Motion to Quash Subpoena and Deposition Notice Seeking the Production of Pathology Slides-Form
  • § 45.8 Order Quashing, Modifying, or Conditioning Subpoena for Production of Documents-Form
  • § 45.9 Order for Production of Documents Containing Privileged Matter for Examination by the Court In Camera-Form
  • § 45.10 Affidavit of Service of Subpoena by Person Designated for Service-Form
  • § 45.11 Motion to Hold Witness in Contempt for Refusal to Comply with Subpoena-Form
  • § 45.11.1 Capias for Arrest of Witness who Failed to Appear-Superior Court-Official Form
  • § 45.12 Subpoena Duces Tecum-Official Form
  • § 45.13 Motion to Quash Subpoena-Divorce Case-Form
  • § 45.14 Motion to Quash Subpoena-Expert-Form
  • § 45.15 Authorization to Use or Disclose Protected Health Information-Form

Massachusetts pleading and practice: forms and commentary, v.7, Matthew Bender, looseleaf, Chapter 65.3.

  • § 65.3.7 Civil Contempt Summons-Form

What to do about personnel problems in Massachusetts, Revised 3/19, BLR-Business & Legal Reports, looseleaf,
p. J-21. Court appearance. “It is unlawful for any employer to discharge, penalize, or threaten an employee for attending court as a witness at a criminal action if the employer has been notified of the subpoena by the employee. Violation of these provisions is subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both (MA Gen. Laws Ch, 268 Sec. 14B). A prosecutor may intercede with an employer to minimize any loss of pay or benefits for a witness. An employer that refuses to cooperate may be charged with sanctions (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 258B, Sec. 3(1)).”

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

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Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

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Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: July 8, 2020
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