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Texas Rep. Proposes Summons Served Via Social Media



A defendant would have to prove the person maintains a social media page, the profile page is actually the person, they regularly access the social media page, and the person could reasonably be expected to receive the notice if the communication were sent to their account.

A Texas lawmaker is proposing to allow people be served subpoenas through social media, reports KEYE-TV.

Representative Jeff Leach proposed HB 1989, allowing substituted service through social media.

The bill, as written, says the court could allow a method of service through social media if the defendant meets several criteria.

A defendant have to prove the person maintains a social media page, the profile page is actually the person, they regularly access the social media page, and the person could reasonably be expected to receive the notice if the communication were sent to their account.

While not everyone is on board, one Williamson County Constable said technology is changing the game.

“I’m not a bit opposed to using social media to save to save taxpayers’ dollars and that’s what we’re doing instead of getting in the car and driving several miles which we’ve done trying to get the process served in the first place,” said Contestable Rick Coffman.

Substituted service is already in place, just not through social media. Some courts allow servers to drop documents off at your workplace or to a court approved person at your place of residence.

If enacted, Texas would be the first state to offer the option of serving papers via Facebook or other social media direct-messaging services, writes Bradley Shear, a Maryland attorney who tracks social-media privacy laws.

Federal courts have allowed defendants to be served by email since 2002, according to Mr. Shear.

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