Texas Lawyers May Soon Be Able to Serve Defendent Via Facebook

facebook-dislike.jpg
rounds.com
Serving people with lawsuits or divorce papers can be a tricky business. Maybe they've moved. Maybe they haven't left much of a paper trail. Maybe they just don't want to be found. Chances are slim, after all, that they'll be delighted with what the process server brings them.

But this is the 21st century, when a sizable chunk of people's business takes place online, so why not make it easier to digitally serve people with legal papers? That's the idea behind a bill filed by state Representative Jeff Leach, a Plano Republican whose previous cameos on Unfair Park have involved his passion for social conservative causes, which would allow legal papers to be served via Facebook.

The Wall Street Journal took note of the bill last week (paywall), noting that Leach describes himself as an "avid proponent of tort reform," and that its passage would make Texas the first state in the country to allow service by social media, which would almost be unprecedented in U.S. courts. Almost.

Last week, a federal judge in New York ruled that the Federal Trade Commission could use Facebook to serve documents in a case against defendants in India.

That ruling allowed social media service only as a backup to more established methods, and Leach's bill would do much the same. Service by Facebook would only be allowed when a judge authorizes substituted service because a defendant cannot otherwise be found.

Seems reasonable enough, but I'm neither a lawyer nor a process server.

My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
UnCoverUp_2
UnCoverUp_2

There might be citizen support for Looper Reed & McGraw, P.C. litigation attorney Jeff Leach's bill if he included a provision in it for serving suit on fraudster lawyers such as Windle Turley and/or Turley's former attorney (now federal judge) Barbara M. G. Lynn by service to their union: the State Bar of Texas. This put an end to Turley's and Lynn's litigation strategy of defeating malpractice and fraud claims against them by evading process servers to create statute of limitations defenses for the claims against them.

NewsDogsGirl
NewsDogsGirl

We use Facebook to help find people; but this seems risky.  However, it probably gives more realistic knowledge to the person than posting in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where he no longer lives.  The idea there was that everyone reads the paper and, if they don't, a friend or family member is bound to see it.  That has rarely happened to me in 27 years of practice in the State of Texas.  I doubt I would feel comfortable doing this.

ChrisDangerShow
ChrisDangerShow

Wow, republicans of Texas refusing to fix the real ills of the state, yet keep pushing out stupid bill after bill, sound about par for the course..

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

Just because someone has a Facebook account it doesn't mean that they ever look at the account.  Especially if they don't want to be found.

dungpie
dungpie

@cynicaloldbastard But even if there's no visible public activity, Facebook can tell if the message has been opened and provide that info.

randi.trollop
randi.trollop

@dungpie @cynicaloldbastard They still don't know which account is mine though.  Will they go to the trouble of determining what my IP address is and then follow that through with my ISP?  That sounds expensive.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@dungpie So you expect Facebook to actually do that right? Have you seen their IPO, or privacy snafus, or mobile apps? It's amazing they're so huge for doing very little all that well. They'd bungle that part for sure.

dungpie
dungpie

@randi.trollop @dungpie @cynicaloldbastard Well there will have to be some legal determination of the account belonging to the actual party being sought.  Will it have to be a judge making this decision?  A County Sheriff?  Any police officer?

Once that legal issue has been decided, Facebook would be notified and track all activity, including any ISP accessing the account.  I don't think it would be any financial burden to anyone.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...