You've Been Served... Via Facebook? It’s True!
In England, a High Court judge has approved the service of legal documents on a party through the social network Facebook.
The case revolves around a charge against a brokerage firm accused of overcharging their clients. Lawyers had a difficult time locating Fabio De Biase, one of the former brokers, at his physical address and by e-mail.
The lawyers discovered that De Biase was active on Facebook responding to friend requests and applied for permission to serve him on Facebook. The judge granted permission and the papers were served.
This isn’t the first time a judge has okayed the service of legal documents through social networks. Back in 2009 another UK judge allowed legal documents to be served via Twitter. Instances of using Facebook have been approved by courts in Australia and Canada.
In California, the service of legal documents is required to be performed in person, by first-class mail or at a person’s place of business. Everyone has the right of due process and service without a personal contact could cause an infringement of that right.
The U.S. had not jumped on the service via social networks band wagon yet, but it could be just a matter of time. The concern being raised by the legal community is the use of fake names and false accounts on social media and the subsequent ability to authenticate delivery.
Are social networks a viable alternative to current methods of process service? Let us know what you think.