Northern Virginia Judge Considering Service of Process Via E-mail
Service of process via e-mail is not just gaining acceptance in Australia (read our previous article regarding serving process through Facebook). Now, several Virginia attorneys are hoping they will be able to convince a Federal District Court Judge to approve a motion to serve a summons via e-mail.
The Virginia Lawyers Weekly Blog reported that Alexandria U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III has been asked by attorneys representing indicted US Representative William J. Jefferson to allow legal service of process by e-mail to a witness in their case; the subject is described as an “elusive, globetrotting witness” by the attorneys. The motion filed on this case can be read at: http://www.valawyersweekly.com/vlwblog/files/2009/01/motion-e-mail-service.pdf.
With the continued growth of social networks, blogging and online businesses, this type of service is slowly gaining acceptance; in April of 2008 in the case Snyder v. Energy, Inc. a New York Civil Court allowed process service through email under specific circumstances. To read the opinion of the Court in this particular case check out http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2008/2008_28137.htm… this is actually an interesting read.
Is the internet becoming our hope of serving those impossible defendants? The biggest concern of emailing a subpoena or summons seems to be the issue of whether or not the message is actually received by the person for whom it is intended. However, wouldn’t emailing a summons be better than service by publication, the age old alternate service method always buried in small print in the back pages of a legal journal/newspaper that few care to read anyway, especially if it can be proven that the email address is being used by the subject?
I would love to hear my fellow process servers’ opinions on this… please leave us a comment in the box below and let me know how you feel about service through email.