A bill filed last week in the Texas legislature proposes an amendment to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code to allow substituted service through social media sites. The bill introduced by Representative Jeff Leach on February 27, would allow courts to “prescribe as a method of service…electronic communication sent to the defendant through a social media website.”
Of course, the final discretion lies with the presiding judge. Under Texas law, if personal service or service by mail fail, a Plaintiff may file a motion with the court requesting substituted service. An accompanying affidavit must show “reasonable diligence” in attempting service through traditional means and may suggest a preferred manner of substituted service, but the ultimate authority for service is the order entered by the Court, either granting or denying the motion. Indeed, appellate courts in the state have upheld the notion that the order granting a motion for substituted service must give process servers specific instructions (i.e. method of service).
Texas needs this bill to become law. Depending on the nature of the suit, serving a Defendant, especially those outside the state, can be tricky task. In today’s world, people can run, hide, and dodge service relatively easily, but most folks will also probably take the time to maintain their Facebook page or check their Twitter feed. Should the bill become law, that Twitter feed might now read, “You’ve been served,” accompanied by a laughing emoji.