Facebook: Friend or Foe?

As technology continues to emerge in new ways, so does crafty thinking. Some lawyers and judges in countries such as Canada and New Zealand are now permitting and even encouraging service of legal documents through the popular networking site, Facebook.
Subsequent to several unsuccessful attempts at service, an Australian court recently allowed legal counsel for a mortgage lender to use Facebook for service of foreclosure documents after the homeowners defaulted on their loan. Once the bank demonstrated to the court that the defendants were indeed the ones represented on their Facebook page, the bank served notice. When the recipient promptly changed their privacy settings “within a day” of the bank sending the notice, the court deemed the service as being successful. The bank won their case.
Although courts have rules about more traditional methods of service being used via mail and hand delivery, Facebook service in the United States isn’t far off on the horizon as some courts are getting more astute in adopting “alternate service” methods.
A judge in a 2006 case in New York federal court allowed plaintiff attorneys to email a summons to a defendant after finding out that the email address had been previously published in a classified ad. Alaska, on the other hand, already permits service through newspaper publication if service by other means has not been successful.
So perhaps in Colorado we too will soon start to see a combination of the old versus the new as courts and attorneys band together to effectuate good service on sneaky defendants.

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