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Australian Court Lets Lawyer Serve Papers Via Facebook 204

Posted by kdawson
from the super-poked dept.
a302b writes "A Canberra lawyer has been permitted to serve legal documents via Facebook for a couple who defaulted on a loan. He claims he needed to do this because he was unable to track them down to a physical address. At what point does our online presence become 'real?' And what opportunities are available for fraud, if social networking sites are considered legal representations of ourselves, even when they can be anonymously created under any name?"
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Australian Court Lets Lawyer Serve Papers Via Facebook

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  • But.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:31PM (#26140987)
    How does he know that the person is infact the one he wants? It could be someone registering with a false name. No, I guess it could not be cause that is now illegal.
    • Re:But.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nasajin (967925) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:35PM (#26141019)
      Also, the fact that there are many people on facebook with the same name, let alone false ones. For many of my friends I was only able to track them down with email addresses, because there were too many other people with the same name.
      • Re:But.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:46PM (#26141097) Homepage Journal

        Also, the fact that there are many people on facebook with the same name, let alone false ones. For many of my friends I was only able to track them down with email addresses,

        Yes, but if you were looking for a couple on facebook & found (as the article states):

        they listed their birth dates, full names, and they had listed each other as friends,

        You'd probably be pretty confident that you'd found the right people hey?

        For the record - I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

        • by Nasajin (967925)

          I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

          Too true. I wonder about the crediblity of an legal document sent to someone with an email address. I mean, you'd be sending stuff addresses like "donglecrotch@example.com"...

          Although... I'd love to see that appearing in court documents, permanently attached to someone's name.

        • Re:But.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by spazdor (902907) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:59PM (#26141187)

          You'd probably be pretty confident that you'd found the right people hey?

          Well, I'd be confident that I'd found someone claiming to be the right people.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Fluffeh (1273756)
            More important than that, in Australia court papers need to be served in a manner that ensures the person being served is both given the information and also is aware that they are given it.

            Sending papers by the mail for example is NOT considered good enough.

            I don't see how this guy could guarantee that the users got proper notification that they did in fact get served the court papers. Short of getting the person to write a reply email confirming that they have indeed accepted the papers (which I wou
        • Re:But.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:05PM (#26141225) Journal

          I wouldn't be so sure. Here in little nowhere AR I had to argue with a bank and several other businesses that I wasn't some other guy. Finally I tracked him down and we went together to straighten it out since he TOO had been getting stuff that was for ME. When we sat down together it turned out we had the same first and last names, our fathers and mothers had the same first and last names and the same middle initials. And to top it off his sister had the same name as mine(which my mom made up) so he called his mom and it turned out she was having his sister in the same hospital at the same time my mom was having mine, and when she overheard my mom talking with the nurses about the made up name she thought it was cute and named her girl the same!

          So while I am sure that this lawyer probably has the right people, never underestimate the power of coincidence. After all if two people whose families have never met face to face could have so much in common in a little place like AR, imagine how many similar couples or families there could be on something as large as FB?

          • Re:But.... (Score:5, Funny)

            by z-j-y (1056250) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:15PM (#26141291)

            some time traveler screwed it up.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nextekcarl (1402899)
            My dad ran into someone with the same first name, last name, and one of my middle names and when he talked to the guy a little more he found out we were born on the same day in the same hospital! This was a few years ago in a small town we lived in at the time (which is over 800 miles from the said hospital, so it is even more interesting.) The guy was just passing through town with his family, so I never met him (time travel paradox adverted!)
          • That's downright scary.
          • by mellon (7048)

            pics, or it didn't happen!

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by SBFCOblivion (1041418)

            our fathers and mothers had the same first and last names and the same middle initials.

            I believe they call that 'brothers'.

          • Re:But.... (Score:5, Funny)

            by szquirrel (140575) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @09:59AM (#26144439) Homepage

            When we sat down together it turned out we had the same first and last names, our fathers and mothers had the same first and last names and the same middle initials...

            After all if two people whose families have never met face to face could have so much in common in a little place like AR...

            ...can't think... too many jokes... all trying to get out at once...

          • Took my Mum to the doctor. The Nurse comes into the waiting room and calls for Mrs. 'Smith'. My Mum and another little old lady say "Yes". The Mrs. 'Smith' who lives on 'Main' Street. The two little old ladies say "Yes". The nurse says the Mrs. 'Smith' who is 75 years old. Again both say "Yes". She finally had to use birthdays to get the right lady.
        • Re:But.... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by QuantumRiff (120817) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:31PM (#26141427)

          There was trouble tracing a problem with a person in our DB at a college I used to work in. They were listed in the system twice. Same Name, birthday, address, marital status, and age. In fact, the only difference was the social security number and gender. One had taken a few classes, one was full time. We spent forever tracking down the problem, assuming someone created a typo when they created the student record, then thought to call the phone number listed as their phone number (yep, same number) and they both came in. Husband and Wife were both named "Leslie" (Not common for a man, but not unheard of) both were born on the same day, in different states, and had been married for 25 years with children also attending the college. That day taught me a reminder I still keep around about jumping to conclusions. Sure, your 99.999% sure, but that leaves 1 out of 100,000, and someone has to be that one...

          • "Fortunately" California's prop 8 guarantees that you can't have an even worse situation, i.e. one where only the social security number would be different...
          • by Yewbert (708667)

            If more people would find and marry mates with the same names, etc., like this, it'd actually solve some problems. US Mail meant for one would at last be more likely to arrive at the right house and get sorted out by the right people that way.

            Then again, their credit reports might be a little hairier to sort out, with them having the same address and all.

            Makes my brane hurt.

        • Re:But.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mr_matticus (928346) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:08AM (#26142007)

          For the record - I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

          Why?

          Personal service is preferred, and process servers go to extreme and often comical lengths to put the paper in your hand, but some people refuse to accept service. Should you have to continue a manhunt for a year, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, in order to exercise your legal rights? How would you feel if someone potentially owed you thousands or millions of dollars and you couldn't get it because they wouldn't open the door?

          Like all forms of service other than personal service, it's a last resort after a documented showing of diligence. At some point, you're intentionally avoiding being served, because letters and messages have been left for you, and if that's the case, the notice function of service has been fulfilled. Like everything else in law, it's a balancing of competing needs. You also always have the opportunity to fight a default judgment if you can legitimately demonstrate that the dozens of attempted services were missed because you were actually, truly not available.

          As you can imagine, the chances of you disappearing from society and leaving no trace of how to contact you with employers, neighbors, family, and friends is fairly small...unless you're running from something.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ArsenneLupin (766289)

            As you can imagine, the chances of you disappearing from society and leaving no trace of how to contact you with employers, neighbors, family, and friends is fairly small...unless you're running from something.

            I know a guy who thought it smart to just "disappear" for a year, touring the world.

            When he came back, his large real estate holdings were foreclosed, because there was problems with some tenants who failed to pay their utility bills and just left (some even taking the keys with them...). The company that my friend had hired to look after the building failed to do anything about the situation, so the city moved to confiscate the building in order to pay the bills.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kabocox (199019)

            Personal service is preferred, and process servers go to extreme and often comical lengths to put the paper in your hand, but some people refuse to accept service. Should you have to continue a manhunt for a year, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, in order to exercise your legal rights? How would you feel if someone potentially owed you thousands or millions of dollars and you couldn't get it because they wouldn't open the door?

            I'd be more upset at the system that allowed that rather than the indiv

        • Re:But.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by riprjak (158717) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:41AM (#26142165)

          For the record - I don't think anything other than in person should be a legal way to serve, but email is not superior to Facebook.

          TFA Clearly states that the Court only allowed this because it was presented clear evidence that every other avenue had been attempted and exhausted to serve the couple. Our Courts have allowed in the past innovative approaches to serve papers where defendants have failed to respond to traditional means or attend court in their own defence.

          Also note that courts in Australia have DENIED such requests in the past, as they were not convinced in those cases that other avenues had been exhausted.

          This approach is not "legal" per se but rather only as instructed by the Court in this case; our Judges have discretion in cases where parties are evidently avoiding the serving of papers through "traditional" channels.

          This is a story about a clever investigator providing a lawyer with another approach to serve papers after all available means had been tried and failed. And it worked, the day after this was publicised locally, lo and behold the folks in question re-appeared at the address they are about to be evicted from and basically confirmed that they had indeed been found.

          err!
          jak.

          • Re:But.... (Score:4, Funny)

            by T Murphy (1054674) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @03:56AM (#26142723) Journal

            every other avenue had been attempted

            Lawyer: They won't be served by any other means.
            Judge: Did you try carrier pigeons? Ducks using semaphore? Pelting their door with artichokes to form Morse code? Cucumbers too?
            Lawyer: Yes, we tried all that- including the singing lemurs. Now, can we please just serve them on facebook?
            Judge: Blast! I was sure the lemurs would work. Well, we haven't even started with the ones involving mimes... don't start with those crazy ideas of yours just yet!

        • by sjames (1099)

          You'd probably be pretty confident that you'd found the right people hey?

          You never know, I was looking up a friend once and found someone with the same name, profession, personal interests and bizarre sense of humor living in the right general area. A few levels deep in the website I found a picture and it wasn't him.

          Serving in person is far preferable. Second best is registered mail. Email, non-registered mail, etc should NOT be considered proper service unless the person served voluntarily responds. It's just way too easy to have a default judgment entered while having no ide

          • Are you sure it wasn't really him? Maybe his bizarre sense of humour led him to post a fake picture. Or maybe he just didn't want his picture associated with all that information about him.

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          How is email not superior?

          I have seen face book go off-line before, but not email.

          We are required to provide the government with our postal addresses, perhaps if the same was done for e-mail we would see more use of it.

    • by Swizec (978239)
      I know you're trying to be sarcastic, but you're onto something now. Since that myspace chick got sentenced for fraud or whatnot because of registering under a false name then, legally, any name you put into facebook is either your real name and thus a legal representation of yourself, or you're a criminal and ... well, if they find the papers weren't properly served because the name wasn't real then ...

      Oh I don't know. It's all become such a big mess, no wonder we need lawyers to clear up these things.
      • Except that ex post facto laws are unconstitutional in the US. So if you put a false name in before the fraud act was passed, you're not breaking any laws.

        • by Swizec (978239)
          True, but the precedent still gives a very good basis for anyone wanting to exploit it.
      • I know you're trying to be sarcastic, but you're onto something now. Since that myspace chick got sentenced for fraud or whatnot because of registering under a false name then, legally, any name you put into facebook is either your real name and thus a legal representation of yourself, or you're a criminal and ... well, if they find the papers weren't properly served because the name wasn't real then ...

        Lori Drew wasn't convicted purely for using a false name. She was convicted because she used that false name to harrass someone (with great success), which wouldn't have been possible under her real name, because the harrassed girl would have known that she wasn't talking to a 16 year old boy but to her 40 year old female neighbour.

    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:42PM (#26141063) Homepage Journal

      Yawn - Facebook is no different to email & US courts have served via email [nycourts.gov] in the past.

      One crappy, lossy, non-guaranteed electronic communications medium vs another.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:55PM (#26141159)

        Actually, there is a difference. In general, you are pretty certain who an e-mail address goes to.

        If the ISP is contacted to obtain a person's e-mail address, they can definitely provide the info, they can also match the user up with customer billing records. This information is fairly unlikely to be fake.

        With e-mail, your address may also be exchanged in advance, i.e. through some other means of communication, so the person serving can show solid evidence that the e-mail address belongs to the person.

        I.e. if the legal matter concerns copyright material posted on blah.example.com, and the WHOIS info for that domain lists the e-mail address, then there is PROOF that the e-mail address is provided by a person who controls the domain.

        However, with facebook, the target party is found by a simple search for their name and (possibly geography).

        Since multiple people have the same name, even in the same area, it is unreasonable to expect you have verifiably served the right person.

        You may have accidentally sent the information to the wrong profile.

        Also, the purpose of facebook (for many users) is simply to display profile information.

        Many users don't expect to receive messages of any sort, so they don't check them.

        This is in stark contrast to an e-mail service whose sole purpose is to receive messages, and is effective, so long as the account is not abandoned.

        • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:07PM (#26141243) Homepage Journal

          If the ISP is contacted to obtain a person's e-mail address, they can definitely provide the info, they can also match the user up with customer billing records. This information is fairly unlikely to be fake.

          An ISP can provide an email address, but hardly anyone uses an ISP's email - they use one of the big webmail providers. So there's no guarantee the recipient will check their ISP provided mailbox.

          However, with facebook, the target party is found by a simple search for their name and (possibly geography).

          Since multiple people have the same name, even in the same area, it is unreasonable to expect you have verifiably served the right person.

          Since this is slashdot, it is unreasonable of me to expect you to have read the article - so here's the relevant quote:

          McCormack argued that he knew he found the right people online because they listed their birth dates, full names, and they had listed each other as friends

        • by jesterzog (189797)

          It really depends on the person. I know plenty of people who have an ISP-supplied email account but don't even know how to check it, let alone receive anything that's sent to it. These same people quite happily leave Facebook running all day in the background, and will use it as their primary means to communicate.

          In this case, there were also several other reasons to verify that the profiles were correct besides names and regions. The article states that it was made more certain thanks to them listing d

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Facebook is also unreliable, I have seen it go offline before.

          If you contact me via facebook you are depending upon a third party to pass the message onwards to my email, just like giving the letter to my neighbour and saying "Can you drop this in #26 please" if this does not happen for any reason then the message is not received.

          Whereas if they email me it is guaranteed to arrive in my inbox. Once my server accepts the email that's the equivalent of pushing it through a mail slot on my front door.

          • Yes, but the e-mail could be marked as spam, or you could share your e-mail account with someone else who assumes the message is spam or phishing and deletes it.

            Heck, you could even argue that you habitually delete all unsolicited commercial e-mails (banking, advertising, legal, etc) without reading them because you assumed they were phishing attempts (this might not even be a lie – lots of people do).

      • Would YOU even read email with a subject line like that? I've deleted spam like that three times without ever reading it.

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          I once got a cease and desist notice served to me via email.

          How else where they supposed to serve it? I don't have a public phone number, not that I even answer it half the time, no fax and I certainly don't check the PO Box my domains are registered to. When my PO Box gets full of crap every 3-4years the post office deliver it all to the door I then deliver it straight to the trash.

          Serious notices should be served in person, email can take everything else, only fines arrive via snail mail these days.

      • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @02:37AM (#26142403) Journal

        One crappy, lossy, non-guaranteed electronic communications medium vs another.

        Email version:
        Deposition Subpoena to Testify
        GREETINGS: YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED TO SUBPOENA AND SUMMON THE FOLLOWING WITNESS:
        John Doe of 53 Sanity Street SanesVillie

        Facebook version
        lolz. Hey John. U been summ'd to Court. cu there. haha. sucker!

      • by carvalhao (774969)
        Do you want to compare email reliability to snail mail reliability? My country (Portugal) has an 1.4 % error rate in snail mail delivery. That's 1.4 lost each 100. I receive about 150 emails per day. I don't miss out on 2 email per day. Even with spam.
    • by Xaoswolf (524554)
      Well, I'm guessing you can determine it from who they are friends with. You can check recent activity to see if it is indeed active. If the Wall is full of posts asking who the hell they are, then it may be fake, if it is full of posts from friends and family talking about the fun times that they had last night, then it is probably legit. If the person left an email address with the debtor and that email address is linked to the facebook, that would probably help out as well...

      The real problem would be i

      • by cromar (1103585)
        Of course, we don't know if those friends and family members are real ;)
      • Even if Facebook released logs showing that yep, somebody read the message, there's always the possibility that a relative/friend knows your password and logged in as you. In the case of a family member, they might have even used your computer, and you wouldn't even find an unusual IP address in the log.

    • It's in the article (Score:3, Informative)

      by jesterzog (189797)

      How does he know that the person is infact the one he wants? It could be someone registering with a false name.

      From the article: "McCormack argued that he knew he found the right people online because they listed their birth dates, full names, and they had listed each other as friends, according to the AFP. This was apparently enough to convince the judge, who said that McCormack could serve the couple Facebook papers as long as he also left them at their last known address and also via e-mail.

      Obviously i

  • Somewhat reasonable (Score:4, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmail.cFREEBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:32PM (#26140995) Homepage Journal

    If the couple was in hiding but was maintaining an active presence on Facebook, then I can see how this would be reasonable. The lawyer was required to deliver the papers to the last known address is addition to serving notice via Facebook. Interesting, the profile disappeared after the papers were served...

    Of course, it will still be up to the judge to decide if the experiment was a success. If he decides that the papers were not properly served even after allowing it, he won't give a summary judgment. Alternatively, the judgment could be vacated if the couple later challenges the judgment and the next judge finds that papers were not properly served.

    (IANAL, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn express once!)

  • One more reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VonSkippy (892467)

    Reason #9,382,329 NOT to waste time on those stupid "social" networking sites.

  • A flushing WC in the woods for our friends of the Ursine persuasion?
  • Wait, via Facebook? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by strredwolf (532) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:40PM (#26141047) Homepage Journal

    Couldn't the lawyer request Facebook give up the goods on the couple?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm sure Facebook would be happy to supply IP/date-time details if they were Chinese bloggers. Alas, they are just Australian deadbeats.

      • You got it in one. 'National Security' claims from big governments that can cut off Facebook at the routers have a lot more power than a straightforward civil suit. I've actually attempted to get law enforcement involved in tracking criminal activity from spammers. They couldn't be bothered to get the necessary subpoenas unless the case was quite large: I imagine that the threshold for a lawyer on a budget to get such subpoenas is also pretty high.
  • by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @10:56PM (#26141169) Journal
    a new type of spam.

    The question I have is how dose he know they read it? As I understand it, the key is making sure the person knows they have been served.
    • by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:01AM (#26141605)

      That's a very valid point.

      "Yes your Honor, I do recall receiving a message with that subject/content but I deleted it assuming it was spam or a virus. After all, what kind of an idiot would serve a legal document via Facebook?".

      Aside from the fact that inferring that a judge is an idiot is seldom a good idea, it would appear to be a valid assumption - it's what I would do if I saw an email with a subject that looked like it contained a legal document (or any attachment from someone I didn't know), and ditto for a facebook message if I had a facebook account.

      • Same here. I've gotten a couple of e-mails from the "FBI" claiming that they'll be stopping by in a week to investigate me for some illegal money transfers. Now, putting aside the fact that I'm not involved in anything of the sort and putting aside the fact that the FBI wouldn't warn me that they would be stopping by in a week, why would they contact me via e-mail? So I junked it as spam. If I got a "you've been served" e-mail, I'd junk that too. E-mail and Facebook shouldn't be valid methods of servin

  • Proven by the RIAA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BearGrylls (1388063)
    If nothing else, the RIAA has proven that the end of online anonymity is coming. Why is anyone surprised that this is happening? It's sketchy, and from what I understand barely legal, but it's gaining momentum.
    • Actually, I don't think it is the RIAA that is proving this. It's the social networking scene and people posting intimate details of their lives along with their names and personal information. When "John User" doesn't think twice about setting up his Facebook account to list his real name, location, date of birth, and a listing (with photos) of all of his recent activities, his anonymity vanishes.

      And yes, I know this is being posted from an account using my real name. I set it up years ago. I've recent

  • "He claims he needed to do this because he was unable to track them down to a physical address."

    He's not necessarily supposed to be able to. That what they hire investigators for, and process servers to deliver them. My money says he just wanted to keep as much of his money as he could.

    The usual excuses will now be compounded with the excuses familiar to anyone who's been on line for long: "I downloaded it with my email, but it got corrupted." "My hard drive crashed" "Someone hacked into my computer/account

  • by Zadaz (950521) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:15PM (#26141287)

    What trog wrote the summary?

    Most of my clients know me only via phone number, email address, or chat alias. I still produce work and they still pay me.

    My bank and my credit cards knows me by a made up user name. They still let me move my money around.

    Amazon only knows me by a made up name and they trust me enough to take my money and ship goods to some address I just gave them.

    The only thing controversial about serving documents via Facebook is that I don't know how you can verify delivery, which is kind of the whole point of serving papers.

    • by Jessta (666101) on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:51PM (#26141549) Homepage

      In Australia to get a bank account you have to provide 100 points of ID. So my bank knows who I am.
      Amazon is a company that provides a service, they don't care who you are as long as they get their money(eg. like a supermarket etc.).

      I imagine your clients would regret not having more information about your identity if they paid you and you failed to produce the work required.

      Online identity could be the same as physical identity if online services required you to actually provide some form of identification(eg. credit card number, copy of driver's license, etc.) although I've always been horrified at how little is required to prove one's identity and how much that identity gains you.

      If I received papers via Facebook I'd just ignore them, as there is not way anyone else could know whether I received them, or that the account was actually me.

      - Jesse McNelis

      • If I received papers via Facebook I'd just ignore them, as there is not way anyone else could know whether I received them, or that the account was actually me.

        But what if the lawyers posted the papers to your wall, rather than your inbox? In that case, all your "friends" would know too, and if you weren't careful with whom you befriended on facebook, some might rat you out (confirming that (1) it was indeed you, and (2) that you logged on, which they know because you accepted that nice christmas ornament they sent you).

        • If you delete wall spam and you're quick enough, your friends will never see it. Or maybe you're among the vast majority of Facebook users and you don't allow non-friends to post on your wall.

          • I don't know that much about Facebook since I'm too anti-social to join it, but I got the impression that the vast majority of Facebook users DID allow non-friends to post on their walls.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 16, 2008 @11:34PM (#26141445)

    U R SERVED!! U lamers 2 appear B4 judge Dec 19 700 hrs re home loan U "forgot" 2 repay.

    G'day.

  • So the judge went for this whole stupid 'serve them over the interwebs' thing (idiot). Now what? What happens if they don't show up in court? Default judgment? What good is that if the guy can't find them in the first place? He still won't be able to collect on the default judgment. And even if they do find them, they will just say, "Papers? What papers? And what the heck is 'facebook'?

    The judge should have put his foot down and said, "Find them, serve them, then come back into my court. Otherwise,

    • RTFA. (Hint: home loan).

      • Please enlighten us as to how 'home loan' will help find these people. THEY TRIED SERVING PAPERS TO THE HOME!!!

        FTFA

        Attorney Mark McCormack was assigned to the case and unsuccessfully attempted to contact the couple several times at their home,...

        I think it is hilarious that you thought you'd be cool by throwing a 'RTFA' at me, when you clearly didn't.

    • So the judge went for this whole stupid 'serve them over the interwebs' thing (idiot). Now what? What happens if they don't show up in court? Default judgment?

      Default judgement has already happened in this case, the papers that were eventually "delivered" via Facebook were ones informing them that the default judgement had been rendered against them.

      I suppose they could appeal this but that would probably require actually turning up in front of it which doesn't seem to be the way they work.

      • Ah, I didn't read the AFP link in the main article. But it makes me wonder: How were the first set of papers served to the couple to get the default judgment? And why would a second set of papers need to be served?

        And it still doesn't seem to matter. They served the couple two sets of papers, and they still can't find them. What happens now?

        • How were the first set of papers served to the couple to get the default judgment?

          At their house I imagine. I guess the first set of papers came as a bit of a surprise so they weren't in hiding at that time.

          And it still doesn't seem to matter. They served the couple two sets of papers, and they still can't find them. What happens now?

          Where the people are probably doesn't matter so much any more. Now the lien has been served the creditors can presumably move forwards and take possession of the house without

    • by jesterzog (189797)

      Actually in this case it sounds as if they're wasting the court's time and everybody else's money by intentionally making themselves difficult to find. At what point do you draw the line?

      Someone's owed a lot of money by this couple, and fair treatment of them shouldn't be overlooked, either.

  • by userw014 (707413) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:37AM (#26141857) Homepage
    So, what advantage does the server of the legal notice get from this? What is to prevent him from creating a false identity in order to advance the legal process towards confiscating the property? What is to prevent someone from filing a false claim against someone, using a falsely created set of identities to serve notice to?
  • No worries. (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman (158191) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:50AM (#26141931) Homepage Journal

    They can just pay back the loan with WoW gold.

  • Here in Luxembourg, Luxtrust [luxtrust.lu] likes to give technical support via Facebook and other chat sites, even when the original request was submitted via e-mail.

    But I've got the impression that they do it for exactly the opposite reason: because such replies do not create a legal liability.

  • Make use of privacy settings on social networking sites. You never know who could be using peoples profiles (when the whole world can look at your full profile) for what purposes. It could be recruitment firms doing background checks, PIs looking into your activities, spammers harvesting email addresses, etc.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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