Service of process is the procedure by which one party to a lawsuit gives notice of the commencement of a legal action to the party being sued so the court can exercise jurisdiction over that party. New Jersey Court Rule 4:4-4 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c) set forth the various ways process may be served on a defendant. Traditional manners of service include personal service by a process server, mail service, substituted service or service by publication.
Recently, courts have permitted litigants to serve process via email, so it is not surprising that litigants are now also seeking to use a defendant’s social media account to serve process after traditional means prove ineffective or impossible. Indeed, one New York court noted “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.” Baidoo v. Blood-Dzraku, 5 N.Y.S.3d 709, 711 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2015). A New Jersey trial court recently took up the service-by-social media gauntlet and did, in fact, allow a defendant to be served with process via his Facebook account.