2 Courts Permit Defendants to be Served on Facebook

26 September 2014 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

When the defendants could not otherwise be located and served by paper, face-to-face, two Judges ordered service on Facebook since the defendants were in Turkey and Antigua.  Since Turkey “has not specifically objected to service by email or social media networking sites which are not explicitly listed as means of service” on February 20, 2014, US Magistrate Judge Thomas Rawles Jones, Jr. (Eastern District of Virginia) in the case Whoshere, Inc., v. Gokhan Orun d/b/a/ WhoNear; Who Near; whonear.me ordered that the summons and complaint could be transmitted to the defendant under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 4(f)(3) by:

1) email to gokhan@whonear.me;

2) email to gokhanorun@gmail.com;

3) Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OrunGokhan; and

4) LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin/in/gokhanorum.

In the other case a New York Family Court ruled that service on Facebook was acceptable.  In that case Staten Island Support Magistrate Gregory Gliedman ordered that the plaintiff could serve his ex-wife who left no forwarding address  “…to cancel his court-ordered $440-a-month child support based on their son having turned 21.”

These rulings were both in trial courts, and may not survive appellate review.  However service on Facebook has been used since at least 2008 in Australia, Canada, and other countries, so these US rulings were inevitable given the use of Social Media.

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