Decision Authorizes Substituted Service of Process through Social Media. Social Media used to “serve” complaint and summons against defendant.

Once again, the courts have approved of the use of Social Media as a means of “service of process” (service of a summons and complaint against a defendant) in order to haul a defendant into court. A New York Family Court Judge continued the trend toward allowing the very formal requirement of service of process to be accomplished through the very informal means of social media. In Noel B. v. Anna Maria, the Court noted that the petitioner was unable to physically locate a spouse in the context of a child support proceeding, but knew that the spouse “maintains an active social media account with Facebook.” After describing the nature and extent of social media use today, the court granted the plaintiff’s request to serve papers on the defendant through social media.

The Court said,

 

“While this court is not aware of any published decision wherein a New York state court has authorized service of process by means of social media, other jurisdictions have allowed such service.  See, Whoshere, Inc. v. Orun, 2014  WL  670817  (E.D.  Va.), Federal Trade Commission v. PCCare247 Inc., 2013 WL 841037 (S.D.N.Y.). The court notes that in both those matters service via Facebook was directed to be made in connection with other means of service.

 

The Court required the plaintiff to to send a digital copy of the summons and petition to the defendant via the  Facebook  account,  and  follow up  with  a mailing  of  those same documents to  the previously used last known address. The defendant can receive communications via social media, whereas her actual physical whereabouts are uncertain. The method detailed here by the court provides the best chance of the defendant getting actual notice of these proceedings.

 

Noel B. v. Anna Maria, Docket #: F-00787-13/14B September, 2014.

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