Serving Subpoena Duces Tecum Documents

In Virginia, when serving a Subpoena Duce Tecum (SDT) or a subpoena for production of evidence, you have to be sure that service is made at least 14 days prior to the hearing date or request for documents date that attorneys have listed on the SDT. If it is not served prior to that 14 day window, the recipient can request that the SDT be quashed.

Virginia Code 13.1-637 indicates that a corporation’s Registered Agent is the corporation’s agent for service of process. Even though the statute requires a Registered Agent to make themselves available, they are not always readily available.

It has been a common practice in Virginia to list the Registered Agent on the SDT as the recipient. When doing this, the issuing attorney has limited the delivery of the SDT to that individual or someone designated in writing to accept on the Registered Agent’s behalf.

In most cases, the Registered Agent is an attorney and it has been our experience that it is difficult to serve the attorney Registered Agent because he or she is not always available when a process server arrives to serve the SDT. It has also been our experience that not many attorneys provide a written document authorizing someone to accept on their behalf.

As such, listing the Registered Agent on a SDT has made the delivery prior to the above mentioned 14 day window very difficult and in some cases more expensive when the process server cannot get the document served and it then needs to be reissued.

Subpoena Duces Tecum documents can normally be accepted by anyone who is authorized to accept. In many instances, this person can be an office manager, a secretary or even a receptionist, depending on the entity being served. This practice allows service of the SDT to be done in a more efficient and timely manner.

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