Legal Memorandum: Service of a Subpoena in IL

Issue: Is an attempted service of a subpoena by certified mail sufficient under Illinois law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Service of a subpoena; Certified mail; Compelling appearance of deponent
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: 392 N.E.2d 729; 646 N.E.2d 1252; 419 N.E.2d 947; 643 N.E.2d 281; 610 N.E.2d 1277
Cited Statutes: Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 204(2); Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 11; 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-203(a) (Supp. 2000)
Date: 09/01/2000

The only direct authority addressing service of a subpoena is Rule 204 of the Supreme Court Rules, “Compelling Appearance of Deponent.”  Though the rule addresses a different kind of subpoena, it may provide some guidance in determining proper service in this situation.  Rule 204(2) states that “[a] deponent shall respond to any lawful subpoena of which the deponent has actual knowledge, if payment of the fee and mileage has been tendered.”  Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 204(2).  The second sentence addresses service by mail. 

Service of a subpoena by mail may be proved prima facie by a return receipt showing delivery to the deponent or his authorized agent by certified or registered mail at least seven days before the date on which appearance is required and an affidavit showing that the mailing was prepaid and was addressed to the deponent, restricted delivery, return receipt required, showing to whom, date and address of delivery, with a check or money order for the fee and mileage enclosed.

Id.   See People v. DeLaire, 240 Ill. App. 3d 1012, 610 N.E.2d 1277, 1288 (2d Dist. 1993) (while rule permits service by return receipt mail, failure to complete affidavit for return of service is a “serious lapse”).

This rule must be followed so that the court acquires jurisdiction over the person to be deposed.  Whitley v. Lutheran Hosp., 73 Ill. App. 3d 763, 392 N.E.2d 729 (3d Dist. 1979).  In that respect, serving […]

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