#InstaServe – Why Social Media Can Matter In Filing Lawsuits

facebook messenger app on smart phone

Social Media: Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.

These things have all evolved in to integral parts of modern society; they’re ubiquitous in the 21st century. So much so, that even the law has adapted to recognize how much of our lives social media has become.

Typically, when you start a lawsuit against somebody, you have to personally serve them with a copy of the lawsuit. It makes sense when you think about it. Someone suing you is a big deal. The law says that it’s such a big deal, that someone has to personally serve you with a copy of the lawsuit.

However, what happens if you can’t find the person that you want to sue?

One option is to bring a lawsuit, and then ask the Court for a “Substituted Service” Order. This is essentially when you ask the Court, “hey, is it cool if I serve someone with the lawsuit but not in person?”

Under Rule 31.10, if the Court is satisfied that it’s appropriate to do so, they will let you serve your lawsuit in a manner other than personal service.

As technology advances, this is where social media comes in. Recent cases from the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, have allowed the use of Facebook, or other forms of social media to serve a lawsuit, if the individual cannot be found for personal service.

Account Status

It is particularly the case where the person you are trying to serve makes their account public, and you can tell that they use that particular form of social media a lot. That way, the Court is confident that they will see the documents that you’re trying to send their way.

For example, in Dacey v. Dacey, 2018 NSSC 260, the Court says the following at paragraph 17:

17 Rule 31 does not specifically reference substitute service by email or Facebook or social media. However, the generally authority of Rule 31.03(1)(n) confers an authority on a Judge to order service by electronic means. In my view, the guidance of Justices Goodfellow and Moir support such a conclusion: the Court will allow an alternate form of service by which it is reasonably likely that the matter will be brought to the person’s attention.

That’s ultimately what it comes down to. If they person you are trying to serve can’t be found, or is actively avoiding you, lawyers are increasingly turning to social media to serve lawsuits when it’s appropriate to do so, and if the Court is convinced the person is likely to see the information over social media.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about service over social media, never hesitate to consult with one of the experienced personal injury lawyers here at Valent Legal.


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