Thursday, August 20, 2015

SERVICE BY FACEBOOK



Two recent cases come to mind:

1. Noel B. v. Anna Maria A., Docket No. F-00787-13/14B (N.Y. Fam. Ct. Sept. 12, 2014).

2. Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku, 5 N.Y.S.3d 709 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2015).

Both cases deal with the issue of substituted service under CPLR 308 (5). 

In Noel B, the Petitioner filed an action seeking to modify the order of child support based on the alleged emancipation of the sole subject child. The court noted:

"The court finds that service under CPLR § 308 (1,2 and 4) are impracticable. The Petitioner has made diligent efforts to locate the Respondent, but has been unable to obtain an address where service can be made.

However, despite the absence of a physical address, the Petitioner does have a means by which he can contact the Respondent and provide her with notice of the instant proceedings, namely the existence of an active social media account.

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.
Pursuant to CPLR § 308(5) the court authorizes substituted service by the following method: the Petitioner is to send a digital copy of the summons and petition to the Respondent via the Facebook account, and follow up with a mailing of those same documents to the previously used last known address. The Respondent 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 Respondent getting actual notice of these proceedings."

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