Defendant was sued by his former employer, a foreign corporation, and moved to quash two sets of subpoenas duces tecum and ad testificandum served on defendant's current employer, an out-of-state corporation, in New York and California. Defendant argued the discovery sought was not relevant, Rule 4:10-2(a), or otherwise burdensome or sought for annoyance or embarrassment. R. 4:10-3. Defendant alternatively sought a protective order. Plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing the court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the motion to quash.
The trial judge denied the motions without prejudice, reasoning she lacked jurisdiction under the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA), as adopted in New Jersey by Rule 4:11-5(c). However, while defendant's motion for leave to appeal was pending, the judge supplemented her statement of reasons, clarifying that she did not lack jurisdiction to reach the merits of defendant's motion, but rather, that she lacked jurisdiction to compel out-of-state witnesses to appear for the depositions. See R. 4:11-5 ("A deposition for use in an action in this state . . . may be taken outside this state .. . pursuant to a subpoena issued to the person to be deposed in accordance with Rule 4:14-7 and in accordance with the procedures authorized by the foreign state . . . .").
The court affirmed the orders as modified, holding that a New Jersey court always has jurisdiction to decide the merits of a discovery dispute between parties to the litigation, and that the UIDDA and the express language of Rule 4:11-5 do not compel a contrary result.