Service of Process by Facebook

Judge Engelmayer
Judge Engelmayer

In what may be the first service of process by Facebook approved by a judge in the United States,  U.S. District Judge Engelmayer in Federal Trade Commission v. PCCare 247 Inc. issued an order allowing the FTC to serve defendants in India using email and Facebook. The defendants in India allegedly tricked computer owners in the United States into sending money to the defendants to fix computers which were working and had no problems.Originally service of the summons and complaint were by email to defendants’ known email addresses, by Federal Express, and by personal service using a process server. FedEx had confirmed delivery to most defendants, and the process server had personally served all 5 defendants. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 (f)(1) and The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters the summons, complaint and other documents were submitted to The Indian Central Authority which has not formally served the defendants nor replied to the FTC’s efforts to ascertain why not. Defendant Vikas was served in the United States with the summons and complaint. The defendants were represented by attorneys in the hearing on the preliminary injunction which was subsequently issued. The court had unfrozen some assets so the defendants could pay their attorneys. The attorneys were not paid so the court allowed the attorneys to withdraw.

The proposed means of service are not prohibited by international agreement and comport with due process. Evidence showed the Facebook accounts were registered with email addresses used by the defendants.

Do you think service by Facebook will increase rapidly?

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