Can You Serve Someone With a Lawsuit via Twitter?

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-8-28-14-amIt’s a fundamental principle of our legal system — if you’re going to sue someone, you have to put them on notice that they’re being sued. Defendants need to be given a chance to respond to accusations against them. But this requirement begs the question: What constitutes notice?

Do you need to hand a copy of the lawsuit to them in person? Can you mail it? Or can you just slide into someone’s DMs and drop a summons off?

Delivering a Lawsuit

A potential plaintiff could run into all sorts of problems with service of process. You could have trouble finding out where they live. They could just say the summons was lost in the mail. Or the Secretary of State’s campaign aides and Secret Service detail could refuse to accept the summons. So some jurisdictions have come up with alternate means of notice in civil lawsuits.

Some states allow you to leave the summons and complaint with any person at the defendant’s home as long as they’re old enough to understand the responsibility of accepting service. Others permit service by affixing documents to the entrance of the defendant’s home or place of business. In extreme cases, a court may allow publication of a notice in a newspaper, but it must be in at least one newspaper that gets delivered where the defendant is likely to be found and usually must be published on more than one occasion, like once a week for three weeks.

And if all that does work, can you just @ the defendant? Maybe. As the ABA Journal reported, a San Francisco judge recently approved service of process via Twitter in a lawsuit against a Kuwaiti national accused of sending funds to ISIS. Because the plaintiffs couldn’t locate and serve Hajjaj al-Ajmi in person, the judge OK’d the tweeted service based on the defendant’s Twitter usage. “Al-Ajmi has a large following on Twitter,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler wrote, “and has used the social-media platform to fundraise large sums of money for terrorist organizations by providing bank-account numbers to make donations.”

Beeler noted Al-Ajmi’s continued use of his account, as well as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f), which has allowed service via Facebook, LinkedIn, and email when applied to individuals in foreign countries. Here’s hoping he’s got his alerts turned on and hasn’t muted the haters.

[This article has been modified, from an original article posted by Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 13, 2016.]

Interesting Lawsuit of the Month: Employee is suing his boss because his job was too boring

Bored at work? Try suing your employer.

That’s what Frederic Desnard is doing. He has taken his former employer Interparfums to court because his job was too boring. He is demanding 360,000 euros ($415,000) in damages for the distress.

Desnard, 44, worked for the company between 2010 and 2014. He claims his dull job caused him to suffer a “bore out” that led to serious emotional and health issues. “He suffered from a critical depression and had a traffic accident linked to an epileptic seizure…he fell into a coma and was on a sick leave,” said Montasser Charni, Desnard’s lawyer.

Desnard was paid 3,500 euros per month ($4,000), for doing — he said — nothing. His official job title was “general service director,” but he claims his superiors called him “the boy” and asked him to do their personal chores, including picking up kids from sports lessons. He said that eventually there was so little for him to do that his bosses simply told him to go home and come back when they call him. The phone call never came, he claimed.

Desnard’s lawyer said “bore-out” is a form of harassment. “It can be defined as a moral exhaustion due to the total lack of caseload, (and) it comes with a feeling of shame of being paid to do nothing,” Charni said.

The company disputes Desnard’s claims. “We refute all these charges,” said Cyril Levy-Pey, the company’s communication director. He said Desnard was never called “the boy” or any other humiliating names. “He wasn’t so motivated after several years and despite our attempts to give him more missions, he was missing for more than six months…That’s why he was dismissed in 2014,” he said.

[This article has been modified, from an original article posted by ]

Quote of the Month

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
-Ralph S. Marston Jr., Writer

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