Rule 45 in Massachusetts Law: Adoption of a documents only subpoena
The Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Supreme Judicial Court undertook a review of Rule 45 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure governing subpoenas. As a result, several material changes took effect on April 1, 2015.
The most significant change in Rule 45 was the adoption of a documents only subpoena directed to a non-party, language adapted from Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. With the adoption of a documents only subpoena in 2015, there is no longer a need in Massachusetts to notice a deposition along with service of a subpoena when the only intent is to obtain documents.
Other changes were made to accommodate for the new documents only subpoena process. Some of the amendments include, in pertinent part, the following:
- A copy of the subpoena to all parties is required, however a notice of same is not, as it is deemed not needed;
- A specific reference to electronically stored information was added; and
- If there is an objection to production, the party seeking production may move to compel same, and the court will rule in a way deemed to protect the person served with the subpoena from undue burden or expense resulting from compliance.