Montana Code Annotated 2023



VI. Trials


Rule 45. Subpoena.

(a) In General.

(1) Form and Contents.

(A) Requirements -- In General. Every subpoena must:

(i) state the court from which it issued;

(ii) state the title of the action, the court in which it is pending, and its cause number;

(iii) command each person to whom it is directed to do the following at a specified time and place: attend and testify; produce designated documents, electronically-stored information, or tangible things in that person's possession, custody, or control; or permit the inspection of premises; and

(iv) set out the text of Rule 45(d) and (e).

(B) Command to Attend a Deposition -- Notice of the Recording Method. A subpoena commanding attendance at a deposition must state the method for recording the testimony.

(C) Combining or Separating a Command to Produce or to Permit Inspection; Specifying the Form for Electronically-Stored Information. A command to produce documents, electronically-stored information, or tangible things, or to permit the inspection of premises may be included in a subpoena commanding attendance at a deposition, hearing, or trial, or may be set out in a separate subpoena. A subpoena may specify the form or forms in which electronically-stored information is to be produced.

(D) Command to Produce; Included Obligations. A command in a subpoena to produce documents, electronically-stored information, or tangible things requires the responding party to permit inspection, copying, testing, or sampling of the materials.

(2) Except as provided in Rule 28(c)(2), a subpoena must issue from the court in which the action is pending.

(3) Issued by Whom. The clerk must issue a subpoena, signed but otherwise in blank, to a party who requests it. That party must complete it before service. An attorney also may issue and sign a subpoena as an officer of:

(A) a court in which the attorney is authorized to practice; or

(B) a court for a district where a deposition is to be taken or production is to be made, if the attorney is authorized to practice in the court where the action is pending.

(4) A party or an attorney responsible for the issuance and service of a subpoena seeking health care information, as defined by Title 50, Chapter 16, shall comply with the provisions of Title 50, Chapter 16.

(b) Service. A subpoena may be served by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age. Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to such person and, if the person's attendance is commanded, by tendering to that person the fees for one day's attendance and the mileage allowed by law.

(c) Notice of Service.

(1) Notice shall be provided to all parties no less than 10 days before the commanded production of documents, electronically-stored information, or tangible things, or inspection of premises before trial, and shall be served on each party in the manner prescribed by Rule 5(b).

(2) Subject to the provisions of clause (ii) of subparagraph (d)(3)(A) of this rule, a subpoena:

(A) for attendance at a hearing or trial may be served at any place within the state and may require the person subpoenaed to appear at the hearing or trial irrespective of the person's place of residence, place of employment, or where such person regularly transacts business in person;

(B) for the production of documentary evidence and/or the taking of a deposition may require a person to attend an examination or produce documentary evidence only at a place within the state; and

(i) in the case of residents or entities located within the state, within 100 miles of where that person resides or is employed or transacts business in person, or, if on an entity, within 100 miles of the principal location of that entity, or at such other convenient place as is fixed by order of court;

(ii) in the case of non-residents who have been served within the state, within 100 miles of where the non-resident is served, or at any other convenient place as is fixed by order of court.

(3) Proof of service when necessary shall be made by filing with the clerk of court by which the subpoena is issued a statement of the date and manner of service and of the names of the persons served, certified by the person who made the service.

(d) Protecting a Person Subject to a Subpoena.

(1) Avoiding Undue Burden or Expense; Sanctions. A party or attorney responsible for issuing and serving a subpoena must take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on a person subject to the subpoena. The issuing court must enforce this duty and impose an appropriate sanction -- which may include lost earnings and reasonable attorney fees -- on a party or attorney who fails to comply.

(2) Command to Produce Materials or Permit Inspection.

(A) Appearance not Required. A person commanded to produce designated documents, electronically-stored information, or tangible things, or to permit the inspection of premises, need not appear in person at the place of production or inspection unless commanded to appear for deposition, hearing, or trial.

(B) Objections. A person commanded to produce designated materials or to permit inspection may serve on the party or attorney designated in the subpoena a written objection to inspecting, copying, testing, or sampling any or all of the designated materials or to inspecting the premises -- or to producing electronically-stored information in the form or forms requested. The objection must be served before the earlier of the time specified for compliance or 14 days after the subpoena is served. If an objection is made, the following rules apply:

(i) At any time, on notice to the commanded person, the serving party may move the issuing court for an order compelling production or inspection.

(ii) These acts may be required only as directed in the order, and the order must protect a person who is neither a party nor a party's officer from significant expenses resulting from compliance.

(3) Quashing or Modifying a Subpoena.

(A) When Required. 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(d)(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.

(B) When Permitted. 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.

(C) Specifying Conditions as an Alternative. In the circumstances described in Rule 45(d)(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.

(e) Duties in Responding to a Subpoena.

(1) Producing Documents or Electronically-Stored Information. These procedures apply to producing documents or electronically-stored information:

(A) Documents. A person responding to a subpoena to produce documents must produce them as they are kept in the ordinary course of business or must organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the demand.

(B) Form of Producing Electronically-Stored Information Not Specified. If a subpoena does not specify a form for producing electronically-stored information, the person responding must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.

(C) Electronically-Stored Information Produced in Only One Form. The person responding need not produce the same electronically-stored information in more than one form.

(D) Inaccessible Electronically-Stored Information. The person responding need not provide discovery of electronically-stored information from sources that the person identifies as not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. On motion to compel discovery or for a protective order, the person responding must show that the information is not reasonably accessible because of the undue burden or cost. If that showing is made, the court may nonetheless order discovery from such sources if the requesting party shows good cause, considering the limitations of Rule 26(b)(2)(C). The court may specify conditions for the discovery.

(2) Claiming Privilege or Protection.

(A) Information Withheld. A person withholding subpoenaed information under a claim that it is privileged or subject to protection as trial-preparation material must:

(i) expressly assert the claim; and

(ii) describe the nature of the withheld documents, communications, or things in a manner that, without revealing information itself privileged or protected, will enable the parties to assess the claim.

(B) Information Produced. If information produced in response to a subpoena is subject to a claim of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation material, the person making the claim may notify any party that received the information of the claim and the basis for it. After being notified, a party must promptly return, sequester, or destroy the specified information and any copies it has; must not use or disclose the information until the claim is resolved; must take reasonable steps to retrieve the information if the party disclosed it before being notified; and may promptly present the information to the court under seal for a determination of the claim. The person who produced the information must preserve the information until the claim is resolved.

(f) Contempt. The issuing court may hold in contempt a person who, having been served, fails without adequate excuse to obey the subpoena. A nonparty's failure to obey must be excused if the subpoena purports to require the nonparty to attend or produce at a place outside the limits of Rule 45(d)(3)(A)(ii).

History: En. Sup. Ct. Ord. No. AF 07-0157, April 26, 2011, eff. Oct. 1, 2011; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. No. AF 07-0157, November 29, 2011; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. No. AF 07-0157, July 31, 2012.