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NY Court allowed Facebook substituted service in this family court proceeding.

The Petitioner sought to modify an order of child support. He presented evidence and contested that he was unable to locate the Respondent to effectuate service. He stated that he called and sent messages to the daughter he shared with Respondent to request the location and/or whereabouts of the Respondent. His daughter never responded. Petitioner stated that he attempted to contact the son he shared with Respondent with the same negative results. The Court noted that the support collection unit continues to have an address for the Respondent and that the Respondent provided the same address to the Court when she sent an electronic testimony application to the Court in March, 2013. Petitioner made the Court aware of Respondent’s Facebook account.

Statute: CPLR § 308 states that “Personal service upon a natural person shall be made by any of the following methods…. In such a matter as the court, upon motion without notice, directs, if service is impracticable under paragraphs one, two and four of this section.”

“While this court is not aware of any published decision wherein a New York state court has authorized service of process by means of social media, other jurisdictions have allowed such service. See Whoshere, Inc. v. Orun, 2014 WL 670817 (E.D. Va.), Federal Trade Commission v. PCCare247, Inc., 2014 WL 841037 (S.D.N.Y.). The court notes that in both those matters service via Facebook was directed to be made in connection with other means of service.”

Finding that the other methods of service were impracticable, that the Petitioner has made diligent efforts to locate Respondent and Respondent cannot otherwise be found, the Court directed that “Petitioner is to send a digital copy of the summons and petition to the Respondent via the Facebook account, and follow up with a mailing of those same documents to the previously used last known address.”

The case is Matter of Noel v. Maria, F-00787-13/14B, NYLJ 1202670317766, at * 1 (Fam. RI, Decided September 12, 2014).

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