The Ultimate Unfriending: Manhattan Judge Allows Wife To Serve Divorce Papers Via Facebook

facebook6n-1-webThere is an interesting ruling out of Manhattan where Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper has allowed nurse Ellanora Baidoo to serve her elusive husband, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku (left), with divorce papers via a Facebook message due to her husband’s lack of a current address. Cooper noted in his opinion: “The past decade has also seen the advent and ascendency of social media, with websites such as Facebook and Twitter occupying a central place in the lives of so many
people. Thus, 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.”

Cooper runs through the various options in cases where service is not possible:

“DRL § 232 permits plaintiffs to request permission to utilize one of the alternative methods allowed under the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) that does not require “in-hand” delivery to the defendant. One such method, often referred to as “substitute service,” involves delivering the summons to a person of “suitable age and discretion” at the defendant’s “actual place of business, dwelling or usual place of abode” (CPLR 308 [2]). Another method, known as “nail and mail” service, requires affixing the summons to the door of a defendant’s “actual place of business, dwelling or usual place of abode” (CPLR 308[4]), and then, as with “substitute service,” mailing a copy to the defendant’s “last known address” or “actual place of business.” A third method is “publication service,” where the summons is printed in a newspaper designated by the court and which can be granted upon a showing that “service cannot be made by another prescribed method with due diligence” (CPLR 315).”

200px-Facebook.svgThe court notes that “although the parties married in 2009, they never resided together, and the last address plaintiff has for defendant is an apartment that he vacated in 2011.” It also noted that her husband has refused to make himself available to be served with divorce papers and private investigators failed to locate him. The Department of Motor Vehicles has no record of him. Accordingly, the court ruled:

Specifically, because litigants are prohibited from serving other litigants, plaintiff’s attorney shall log into plaintiff’s Facebook account and message the defendant by first identifying himself, and then including either a web address of the summons or attaching an image of the summons. This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged by the defendant. Additionally, after the initial transmittal, plaintiff and her attorney are to call and text message defendant to inform him that the summons for divorce has been sent to him via Facebook.

50 thoughts on “The Ultimate Unfriending: Manhattan Judge Allows Wife To Serve Divorce Papers Via Facebook”

  1. Nick … simply not reading newspapers is no excuse. It is your fault if you miss it…considering that formal papers were tried to be served honestly, usually multiple times. That, and not everyone, believe it or not, has a computer. IN your realm of work: I used to help out & work for now and then a friend who ran a Private Investigation company…and he had one guy who had to have been a high school or college varsity hurdles champ…they guy would run off like a gazelle through yards and over fences some 5 feet tall. Dave got tired of the chase and sent me after the guy. On about the 4th attempt I just nailed, as crudely as I could (e.g. about 6 long nails) the summons to his front door, since the house was his residence of record and he was known to live there (I had photos of him leaving in the morning and returning each evening for several days)…the court approved it. Much as I disliked that service evader, he was sort of fun….seeing some 40 something dude leap over fences was a trip. Oh, and for good measure I glued a copy of the summons, face down, to his car’s windshield. Hard to miss that, newspapers of not. Had a photo of that too.

    However, tailing errant husbands was my favorite task when asked to do so…now there are some very creative guys in that venue as well…yet they know they’re being watched and still do the same dumb things. I even had to “rescue” one of them from a violently angry wife who had followed me…to get at him indelicto so to speak. My fault, my bad, so I owed the dude even if he was a piece of work who liked having a wife at home and girlfriends on side within a 5 mile radius of his house. No cure for stupid, but I couldn’t let her carve him up like a side of pork. She had a really big knife… 😀

  2. Aridog, I agree w/ you, “Lord help us” that Facebook is becoming the go to venue for news and communication. But, it is what it is. If your goal is to notify someone of a legal action against them, putting it in the local newspaper is the worst place. They simply do not read newspapers.

  3. Whats good for General Bullmoose, is good for the USA!
    What movie was that chant in?

    1. BarkinDog –
      What’s good for General Motors is good for the USA! is from Lil’Abner, I think.

  4. Ross … been there, done that, already …. more or less in my long time with the military and as a DOD “Fed”. Last time I had serious contact with a Congressman he kept my identity secret, with no little pressure on him to reveal who I was and where I worked. I’m far better at cloaking communication than Hillary…who is a rank amateur who relies on obvious lies for a defense. Not the law.

    It isn’t that I don’t hide things, but that I don’t fear anyone. The bureaucrats who last tried to target my back, due to my forcing them to abide the law, lost the battle. And they tried hard to get me, I assure you. Knowledge of the law when confronted is your first line of defense. 90% of those who’d like to harass you wither when forced to actually obey the law. They’re lazy punks.

    Full disclosure vis a vis the target on my back incident: In that case I forced them to obey the law, but my actions to do so cost me approximately $400 per month for life in the end….because I made a HR move that surprised them. There are times when integrity is more valuable. I consider that cost cheap versus succumbing to illegal and idiotic pressure solely applied for ego purposes. I retired finally with a clear conscience that I performed as a representative of the taxpayers not a servant to politicians and bureaucrats.

    But you’d be correct about the remaining 10%…they can mess up your life. So far I’ve manged to foil them by deception and plan to continue if necessary. What’s good for them is good for me, eh.

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