In yet another instance of service of process through social media, a judge has allowed a Brooklyn woman to serve divorce papers upon her husband.
Most of the news coverage about the issue has focused mainly on the fact the service was allowed through Facebook. While this is certainly a step closer to e-service, it still remains that traditional methods of service were attempted first. Service via Facebook was not the initial request of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff attempted to locate the subject through multiple methods, even hiring a private investigator. Despite all of her efforts, the defendant couldn’t be located. There was no forwarding address at the post office for him, no billing address for his prepaid cell phone and the DMV had no record of him.
While some question how one could know if the account was active and actually the defendant, Facebook and the phone have been the sole means of communication between him and the plaintiff. Whether or not the defendant was the one who actually read the message could be contested, but given the plaintiff and defendant communicated on a regular basis over Facebook it would make sense to maintain he regularly checked the account.
Service of process through social media is not a widespread practice yet, and in the cases where it has been granted it is only after all other methods of locating and serving the individual have been exhausted.