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NJ State Court Authorizes Facebook as an Alternate Means of Service

On April 3, 2017 by Schnader

Service through social media has come to New Jersey. The Morris County Chancery Court, in a first-of-its-kind case in New Jersey, held that Facebook is a reasonable alternate means of service, and an acceptable sole means of service where circumstances warrant and such service comports with due process.

Courts in New York paved the way for the New Jersey decision. In 2013, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York permitted service of documents other than the Summons and Complaint by Facebook, together with service by email. FTC v. PCCARE 247, Inc., et al., 12 Civ. 7189 (PAE) (2013). The defendants that the FTC was attempting to serve in PCCARE operated an internet business and used email frequently for communication, demonstrating a high likelihood that they would receive and respond to emails sent to them. When the FTC was unable to serve them by other means, it requested service by email. To be thorough, the FTC also proposed service by Facebook. The FTC supplied ample facts to establish that the Facebook accounts identified were actually operated by the defendants to be served. The FTC also demonstrated that it had attempted traditional means of service without success. The court found that service by email and Facebook was warranted and satisfied the requirements of due process.

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