Service via Social Media?!

Recently EZ Messenger received a call requesting service via social media. The individual had been evading service on a divorce case and one Texas Judge had enough. In addition to certified mailing, the Judge had specifically noted that service could be completed by posting the documents to the individuals Facebook “wall”. EZ Messenger’s process server was able to send a friend request and upon acceptance post the necessary documents and take a screen shot. Further, the documents were sent via Facebook Messenger so for an individual that was very active on Facebook there was very little doubt if the documents were received.
For the most part, when petitioning the court for substitute service via social media, it must be proven that:

The person has an active social media profile on the platform selected for service;
The person to be served is the owner of the social media profile;
The person uses the profile on a regular basis; and
The person can reasonably be expected to receive notice if the service is sent to that social media account.
*Other conditions that may need to be met will vary depending on the jurisdiction and the judge making the decision.
Process Serving on Social Media is not new, but it is rare. During the novel COVID-19 pandemic we are starting to see novel solutions to age old problems. There is a necessity to change to effectively conduct business while protecting public safety. Even the notoriously slow to change court systems are starting to see traction in this regard. The CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, provided more than just the fiscal stimulus, importantly Section 15002 allows for the use of videoconferencing in certain* judicial matters. Furthermore, the American Arbitration Association permit the use “when deemed appropriate…the presentation of evidence by alternative means including video conferencing, internet communication, telephonic conferences and means other than an in-person presentation.”
As the court system starts to adopt a more virtual approach could we start to see more Judges following suit and allowing for service by email or social media?

Comments are closed.