Internet Law

Federal Judge Refuses Request to Serve Party by Facebook, Orders Newspaper Publication Instead

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A Manhattan federal judge has refused a bank’s request to serve an elusive party by Facebook.

U.S. District Judge John Keenan instead opted for traditional methods to serve a woman with a history of providing fake or old addresses, the New York Law Journal reports. He told Chase Bank to publish notice in five local newspapers, including one that covers Hastings, N.Y., the town identified as the party’s current location on her apparent Facebook page. The other newspapers cover other areas where the woman had listed addresses.

A private investigator had found what appears to be the Facebook page for the party, who is accused of obtaining a credit card in her mother’s name and making unauthorized purchases. Chase Bank sought to serve the woman by private Facebook message and by an email to the address listed on Facebook.

“Service by Facebook is unorthodox to say the least, and this court is unaware of any other court that has authorized such service,” Keenan wrote in his opinion (PDF). Further, he said, Chase had not established with a degree of certainty that the Facebook profile was in fact the party’s or that she uses the email address.

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