RPR&C In The Media


Wall Street Journal – Judge: It’s OK to Serve Divorce Papers Via Facebook, quoting Sy Reisman

April 7, 2015 Posted in: RPR&C In The Media


WSJ 4 6 15 (2)

April 6, 2015
By Brian R. Fitzgerald

Defriending apparently isn’t the harshest blow that can be dealt on Facebook. A New York judge ruled that divorce papers can be served through a Facebook message.

The ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper allows a lawyer for 26-year-old nurse Ellanora Baidoo to serve the divorce summons to Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku through a private message from her Facebook account, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

Blood-Dzraku is apparently hard to get a hold of. When he spoke to his wife, it was through a phone call or on Facebook, the Daily News said. A private investigator apparently couldn’t deliver the paperwork. An attempt was made, but Blood-Dzraku hasn’t respond, Baidoo’s lawyer said.

NPR tracked down the March 27 decision, which says an in-person delivery is still the option of first resort. But electronic communication isn’t off the table. Here’s some rationale:

“The past decade has also seen the advent and ascendancy of social media, with websites such as Facebook and Twitter occupying a central place in the lives of so many people. Thus, it would appear that the next frontier in the developing law of the service of process over the internet is the use of social media sites as forums through which a summons can be delivered,” the judge wrote in his decision.

The judge conceded in the ruling that delivering via Facebook is novel and nontraditional, but that in the end it achieves its purpose: The defendant has a right to know he is being sued, and it gets the job done in delivering the summons.

The decision is “revolutionary,” said Seymour J. Reisman, who practices matrimonial law at Reisman Peirez Reisman & Capobianco in Garden City, N.Y. “Once you stop and think about it, it’s really the right thing.

Previously, if you couldn’t find a defendant, you had to leave the notice at a last-known address or publish it in a newspaper, and there was no guarantee the defendant would know about it, Reisman said. He said he isn’t aware of any case previously in which a defendant had been served papers in email.

According to the Slate, serving legal documents through Facebook isn’t new. A New York family court in September said a man could send his ex-wife a child-support notice using the social network, the website said.