Service By Facebook

By Attorney Gregg Herman
April 6, 2015

My law firm has long served as editor of the System Book for Family Law, published by the State Bar of Wisconsin.  We are currently working on the annual supplement (which will, for the first time, modify the forms for same-sex marriage) and our attorney editor, Doug Baker, alerted us to an article in the NY Daily News where a judge is allowing a husband to be served with divorce papers on Facebook.
According to the article:

In a landmark ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper is allowing a nurse named Ellanora Baidoo to serve her elusive husband with divorce papers via a Facebook message…[the wife] is granted permission serve defendant with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook.

 This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged by her hard-to-find hubby.
This actually makes sense.  If a person cannot be served personally – either because he or she is missing or is avoiding service – the law allows service by publication is an approved newspaper.  This is, of course, a fiction as I really doubt people avoiding service read approved newspapers.
Actually, it’s far more likely that such a person would be reading Facebook (doesn’t everyone?).  So, although FB is not – yet – an approved newspaper, maybe it is the way of service in the future.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman, LLC in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.