Summons and Subpoenas, Frequently Asked Questions

Who issues and serves a summons? In general, the plaintiff is responsible for service. Service may be effected by anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the suit. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedures 4. Certified mail with return receipt requested is considered good service in Texas. The U.S. Marshal Service will serve a summons if ordered by a Judge. See Service of Process on the United States, its Agencies, Corporations or Officers.
Will the Clerk's Office issue a subpoena when the case is in another district, but the person being deposed is within a 100-mile radius of our court? An attorney may issue the subpoena if he/she is admitted to practice in the district where the case is filed. Otherwise the parties may file a copy of the notice of deposition (with the other district’s case number) in our Court with a $39 filing fee for a foreign subpoena. This is filed as a miscellaneous case in our district.

Can an attorney issue a civil subpoena? Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 45, an attorney may issue a subpoena on behalf of a court in which the attorney is authorized to practice or a court for a district in which a deposition or production is compelled if it pertains to an action where the attorney is authorized to practice. If a party does not have an attorney (or if the party prefers), the Clerk’s Office will issue the subpoena.