Social Media: A Whole New Type of E-Service

There are a few different ways your business could be served with legal process. For instance, a corporation can be served through service on its officers, directors, or registered agents. A corporation can also be served through service on certain state officials. But your business should be aware of the possibility that it could be served in a very different way: through social media.

There have been a handful of decisions in recent years in which courts have confronted whether service can be effected through social media websites such as Facebook. The law in this area is evolving. As more and more businesses embrace the marketing power of social media, judicial acceptance of service through social media seems increasingly viable.

The ramifications for your business could be enormous. If such service is permitted, a plaintiff could satisfy service requirements by notifying your business (or an officer or director) of a lawsuit through social media. Failure to timely respond to such service could conceivably lead to a default judgment and significant liability.

Your business should be prepared. Personnel in charge of social media should know how to identify attempts at service through these channels. Such personnel should be given the ability to quickly alert management (or counsel) about these attempts at service. The company’s officers and directors should also monitor their personal social media to track attempts at service.

You may already have scheduled a legal compliance review of your company handbook, policies and notices on an annual basis.  Consider adding a legal compliance review of your social media policies, and counsel’s audit of actual practices, to keep ahead in the quickly evolving environment.

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