Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Legal procedure: service on foreign defendant via Twitter OK'd by Federal court

A federal magistrate judge in San Francisco has approved service of a lawsuit via Twitter on an overseas Kuwaiti national accused of helping fund ISIS.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler allowed the Twitter service in a suit by the nonprofit St. Francis Assisi . . .
Side note: usually rules of service are governed by the rules in which court the suit is filed -- for example, a suit in Michigan's Circuit Court would be governed by the Michigan Court Rules. In this case, it's in federal court, so it is governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 

If a plaintiff needs to serve a defendant notice of a suit, the rules tell the plaintiff how to do that properly. Typically, the rules will allow for service on a defendant's attorney, or at their address via certified mail, or through a process server. If the plaintiff can't serve the defendant in a typical fashion, he or she must request that the court allow for an alternative service method. 

Beeler said service via Twitter is not barred by any international agreement with Kuwait, and it is reasonably calculate to give notice. “Al-Ajmi has a large following on Twitter,” 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.” His Twitter account is active and he continues to use it, she added.

Article here (via aba journal). 

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