A court ruled that a man from Staten Island is permitted to serve his ex-wife a legal notice regarding a child support issue via facebook. A Family Court official ruled that Noel Biscocho would be permitted to use Facebook to serve Anna Maria Antigua because other, more traditional methods of service have failed.
On September 12, 2014, Staten Island Support Magistrate Gregory Gliedman noted in his order that it was the first of its kind in New York, and also the first in the United States that didn’t involve an attempt to serve someone overseas.
Biscocho said he tried to reach his ex at her home, but was told that Antigua had moved out with no forwarding address. He attempted a Google search, which did not provide any assistance to locating his ex-wife. In addition, neither his son nor the couple’s daughter returned messages about his ex-wife's whereabouts.
Biscocho stated that Antigua “maintains an active social media account with Facebook” — and had even “liked” some photos posted on Facebook by Biscocho’s second wife “as recently as July.”
The judge ruled it was “impracticable” for Biscocho to serve Antigua personally, through someone at her home or business, or by taping a copy to her door and mailing her another. “However, despite the absence of a physical address, [Biscocho] does have a means by which he can contact [Antigua] . . . namely the existence of a social media account,” he wrote.
Have we reached a new era of service of process? Many questions may arise in terms of electronic service: the criteria required in order to permit a plaintiff to use electronic service? What other types of social media may be used? Does it provide sufficient notice required? Is this a type of service only permitted in a familial context?
While this is a case of first impression, I am sure the issues and solutions will arise soon enough.