Friday, January 30, 2009

Australia Court Okays Service Through Facebook

Reading the ABA Journal - Law News Now's In Seeming First, Aussie Court Says Default Judgment Can Be Served on Facebook, I am not at all sure how Indiana courts would deal with this issue.

"Updated: In an apparent first in Australia and, possibly, the world, a judge has OK'd a plan to serve a default judgment on a non-appearing defendant via a social networking website.

Although service previously has been allowed by e-mail and text message, a master of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory has gone a step further into the Internet world by allowing a default judgment to be served on Facebook, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The court okayed the Facebook approach, a Herald Sun article explains, after all other efforts failed, according to attorney Mark McCormack, who represented the creditor side in the mortgage foreclosure case.

From what I am seeing in this article, it would be my guess (guesses are all that lawyers really have until an appellate court weighs in on a topic except that we get to call them arguments) is that the following Indiana Trial Rules apply:

Rule 4.5. Summons: Service upon resident who cannot be found or served within the state
When the person to be served is a resident of this state who cannot be served personally or by agent in this state and either cannot be found, has concealed his whereabouts or has left the state, summons may be served in the manner provided by Rule 4.9 (summons in in rem actions).

Rule 4.9. Summons: In rem actions
(A) In general. In any action involving a res situated within this state, service may be made as provided in this rule. The court may render a judgment or decree to the extent of its jurisdiction over the res.

(B) Manner of service. Service under this rule may be made as follows:
(1) By service of summons upon a person or his agent pursuant to these rules; or

(2) By service of summons outside this state in a manner provided by Rule 4.1 (service upon individuals) or by publication outside this state in a manner provided by Rule 4.13 (service by publication) or outside this state in any other manner as provided by these rules; or

(3) By service by publication pursuant to Rule 4.13.
Much more prosaic than the Australian case but remember this is Indiana

and not Australia