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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116727
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I filed a civil rights lawsuit in a State (State

Customer Question

I filed a civil rights lawsuit in a State (State "A") circuit court against a department of a state (State "B") and against an employee, using Julie, of that department, in her individual and official capacity. Summons and Complaint were properly served.
I sent a notice to take a deposition of another employee of State B but he, Tom, works for a different department but is still a State B employee. He failed to show up to the deposition. He was proplery and timely noticed via US First Class Mail to his known
work address and also to his email address. Neither was returned. Did I do something wrong? Or did Tom make a big mistake by not showing up?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Did you properly serve these parties to appear by having them served personally by a process server? A summons or subpoena from the court, must also be served on the party within the state, so if it was a summons from state B served on someone from State B, it had to be personally served by a process server and just sending it by US Mail is not valid service and he did not have to appear.

However, I see another issue. You cannot sue State A in a court in State B, because the rules on personal jurisdiction state a defendant must be sued in the state where the defendant resides and also pursuant to the 11th Amendment, a state is a sovereign entity that can only be sued within its state. So, if you served a subpoena from State A on someone in state B from a court in State A, they do not have to honor that subpoena as it was not served on them personally when they were present in State A.

In fact, if state B does not even answer the suit in State A, they do not have to because state A has no personal right of jurisdiction over State B or their employees in State B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Regarding first issue: our court rules are different - if your named as a party to a case you only have to provide a written notice giving the relevant information such as date, time, place etc. No subpoena is needed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On your second issue there is a problem too: my suit is a federal civil rights suit (which a state court can hear) and all the damages occurred in State A, by State B and its employee. A federal civil rights suit does not have to be filed in the state of the defendant. We have long arm statutes which permit me to sue them too. Also, they are not fully protected by the 11th Amendment because they receive some federal funding. There is another reason too....but would have to look it up.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

That does not apply to people OUT OF STATE. Your subpoena to someone out of state from your state court has no jurisdiction or authority. In order for your subpoena from state A to have any jurisdiction you need to apply for letters rogatory in the court in state A, which is where the court in State A then ask state B's courts to issue the subpoena which would be binding on the employee of State B.

However, your service was not proper just by mail.

You may be filing a federal civil rights suit, but I have been involved in those actions, even in state court, and while you may have read everything you claimed above, I have seen jurisdiction argued and won by a state in these cases, so you do not have an easy case to make that state A should have jurisdiction over state B. It is possible in theory, but in practice it rarely occurs.

Your written notice from State A to someone in State B has no power legally as state A has no jurisdiction over the persons in State B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With the exception of the employee I sued as an individual - correct?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Even the employee you sued as an individual, if they are not located in State A, but in State B, then a State A subpoena has no jurisdiction over them and the State A court has no personal jurisdiction over a person in State B. See: International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310,***** 154, 90 L. Ed. 95 (1945).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
alright, thank you for your input
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. I wish you the best in your case.

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