Service of Process on Social Media?
When a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit in Brownsville or anywhere else in Texas, the Rules of Civil Procedure require that a defendant be personally served with the Complaint. This is known as “service of process.”
Unfortunately, service of process can get complicated if there is multi-party litigation or an out-of-state or international party is involved. Some courts have allowed service of process via email. But with the advent of social media, an issue that arose is whether service of process can be completed via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other platform.
Courts Approve Service of Process Via Social Media
You may be thinking, “Service of process on Facebook is unacceptable.” Well, two federal courts approved of a foreign party being served on social media. In both cases, the courts initially determined whether the defendant’s resident nation expressly prohibited service via social media in an agreement with the U.S. When that question was answered negatively, the courts determined that social media service was the most feasible option to provide notice, in accordance with due process standards. In both instances, the courts approved of service on social media. Though, they also required that the service be supplemented with email as well.
As you can see, these cases indicate a willingness among judges to at least consider service of process via social media service, when paired with other means of notifying the responding party.
Many legal analysts expect the next logical step is to codify service of process on an array of social media platforms.
Texas Legislature Considered Bill Allowing Social Media Service of Process
In 2013, Texas lawmakers introduced H.B. No. 1989, which would have allowed substituted service of process through social media platforms, though, in limited circumstances. Under H.B. No. 1989, if a Texas court approves of substituted service under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the court will have the discretion to order service of process via an electronic communication sent to a party via social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. In order to proceed with social media service of process, a Texas court must determine:
- The party has an active social media profile on the site selected for service;
- The social media profile is the profile of the party;
- The party utilizes their social media profile on a regular basis; and
- The party could reasonably be expected to receive the notice if the electronic communication is sent to the party’s social media account.
As you can see, service of process via social media appears to be a very real possibility in Texas litigation, and litigation across the country.
Have Questions? Schedule a Meeting to Speak with a Brownsville Civil Defense Lawyer
Being subjected to civil litigation can be a time-consuming and costly experience. You need to protect yourself and your business by having an experienced defense team ready to respond to any civil complaints that are served on you. That is why you should contact the Brownsville civil defense attorneys of Colvin, Saenz, Rodriguez & Kennamer L.L.P.