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New York Court Authorizes Substituted Service of Summons and Petition Via Facebook


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On September 12, 2014, a Richmond County Family Court Magistrate authorized substituted service of a summons and petition via Facebook.

Petitioner filed an action seeking to modify the order of child support based on the emancipation of the sole twenty-two year old child. Petitioner appeared before the court because he was unable to effect service upon the Respondent. Respondent was unable to be located at her last known address and Petitioner was unable to obtain a new address for the Respondent through his child or through the Google search engine. The Court noted that the last known address of the Respondent was still on file in the support collection unit and Respondent provided the same address to the court when she sent an electronic testimony application to the court in March 2013.

In describing his efforts, Petitioner noted that the Respondent maintains an active Facebook account with recent activity. CPLR §308(5) states that personal service may be made “[i]n such manner as the court, upon motion without notice, directs, if service is impracticable under paragraphs one, two, and four of this section.” Although no court has published a decision in New York state court that has authorized service of process by means of social media, the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of New York have allowed service via Facebook along with “service by other means.”

The Court held that the Petitioner had “made diligent efforts to locate the Respondent but has been unable to obtain an address where service can be made.” As such, Magistrate Gliedman allowed the Petitioner to serve a digital copy of the summons and petition to the Respondent via her Facebook account along with a mailing of those same documents to the last known address.

If you are unable to serve a party with a legal document, please contactan experienced attorney at Holman Law, P.C. to discuss your situation.

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