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Question about subpoena a California C.C.P 98 declarant.

Santa Clara, CA |

Hi, I hired a server to serve a subpoena form (subp-001) to collection company's witness who claim that she has personal knowledge about records that the bank had, kept and sold to her company. She also claim that she has personal knowledge how her company keep the records. She is from different state and put the address of her company's lawyers office in CA as her address. When the server went there to serve, the lawyer took it and let server knew that he was authorized to receive this subpoena on behalf of the witness from different state. Can I object this? since the rule said that the witness must be available at the stated address to accept the subpoena within 20 days before trial?

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Filed under: Subpoena
Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

First of all, I presume that this is a limited jurisdiction (under $25K) case, since a Section 98 declaration in lieu of live testimony can only be used in a limited jurisdiction case.

It is quite common for the declarant in a debt collection case to state in a Section 98 declaration that the attorney's law office is authorized to accept service of a subpoena.

You can't object on this ground, even if the declarant is out of state. Your hope is that the witness fails to show up at trial, in which case, you can argue to the court that the plaintiff failed to prove its case and have a judgment rendered in your favor. Good luck!

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


If this is a trial subpoena, it is not enforceable against witnesses located outside of California. The attorney can agree to accept service on behalf of his client or the client's witenss. If this witness is essential to the other party's ability to prove their case, in all likelihood the attorney will make arrangements for the person to attend trial. If this witness is employed by a the other party, you can serve up to 25 days before trial a Notice to the Party to produce persons to testify or produce documents at trial, or within 10 days of trial, serve a notice to appear at trial, identifying the party or its employee you wish to appear. Add 5 days if you serve these papers by mail on the party's attorney instead of delivering them in person. The court may find the Notices are not sufficient to compel the party to produce someone from out of state, but the party will have to produce someone in response to the Notices. You should discuss with the attorney when the witness will appear so that you will be able to examine the witness at trial. The court expects parties to work out logistical issues like this in advance of trial.



Dear Sir, thank you very much for your detail answer. The subpoena is my respond to the witness (located outside the state @ North Carolina) declaration in lieu of testimony C.C.P 98. I try to read the rule and it said this must be personally served. My understand is the witness must be there to accept the subpoena, not the attorney who represents for her company. Is that correct? Also, the Notice to the Party to Produce Persons to Testify or Produce Documents at Trial you mentions above is for taking the deposition? I do not think I could use it since my trial only 15 days away. Thank you and appreciate your answer.


the rule requires that the declarant inder CCP 98, be available for service. If the declarant has authorized the atty to accept service, that is acceptable. The law requires there be a means for the deft like you to serve a subpena on the declarant that requires the declarant to appear. This rule means you dont have to try to serve some one out of state. For example, corporations have agents designated to accept service. if declarant doesnt show, you shuld win. if declarant shows, you have to defend on other basis.