United States District Court Motion to Quash–Cheat Sheet

Use this “Cheat Sheet” to learn the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure related to a motion to quash or modify subpoena in the United States District Courts. For a more detailed treatment, including local rules, on bringing a motion to quash or modify subpoena in a specific United States District Court, please see the SmartRules United States District Court Subpoena Guide for the court where your action is pending.

On timely motion, the issuing court must quash or modify a subpoena that:

(i) fails to allow a reasonable time to comply;

(ii) requires a person who is neither a party nor a party’s officer to travel more than 100 miles from where that person resides, is employed, or regularly transacts business in person- except that, subject to Rule 45(c)(3)(B)(iii), the person may be commanded to attend a trial by traveling from any such place within the state where the trial is held;

(iii) requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no exception or waiver applies; or

(iv) subjects a person to undue burden. FRCP 45(c)(3)(A).

To protect a person subject to or affected by a subpoena, the issuing court may, on motion, quash or modify the subpoena if it requires:

(i) disclosing a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information;

(ii) disclosing an unretained expert’s opinion or information that does not describe specific occurrences in dispute and results from the expert’s study that was not requested by a party; or

(iii) a person who is neither a party nor a party’s officer to incur substantial expense to travel more than 100 miles to attend trial. FRCP 45(c)(3)(B).

In the circumstances described in Rule 45(c)(3)(B), the court may, instead of quashing or modifying a subpoena, order appearance or production under specified conditions if the serving party:

(i) shows a substantial need for the testimony or material that cannot be otherwise met without undue hardship; and

(ii) ensures that the subpoenaed person will be reasonably compensated. FRCP 45(c)(3)(C)(eff 12/01/07).

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