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Social Media and Service of Process

Social Media and Service of Process

As private investigators, it is part of our job to keep up to date on the fast changing social and professional networking sites currently in favor with the general public. A recent case in our office highlights the usefulness of these sites, not just when gathering evidence about the other side, but when locating and tracking a person for service of process.

Gailey Associates, Inc. was retained to serve a deposition subpoena on a third party witness. The initial service was a typical serve. We utilized our databases to identify a current address and effected personal service at her home. The second and third serves were increasingly more difficult as the deponent failed to appear for the deposition. The fourth and most recent service was critical as it included a motion for the deponent to be held in contempt for failure to appear for the deposition and request for monetary sanctions. Our office was able to identify online businesses the witness had set up. Once we identified these businesses we were able to identify the social network sites being used by the deponent to promote her business. The deponent was posting photographs which would lead the viewer to believe she was out of the country, a view the deponent wanted everyone in the case to believe so that she could get away with not having to appear and provide testimony. In fact, one day after our office was told by her “roommate” she was out of the country, she posted a photograph purportedly from that country. The deponent therefore believed our office was falling for her ruse. However, we were able to determine from her social network postings that the postings were actually being made locally although not from the location she was reporting as her address and where her “roommate” was claiming she was living. Gailey Associates was able to determine the exact address from where the postings were being made from information available to a public user of the social network. Research was conducted on the address and it was identified as an address owned by one of the opposing parties, one who was claiming to have no knowledge of the deponent’s location. The deponent was successfully served at the location from where she was making her social network postings. She had no idea when we knocked at the door that we had figured out where she was really living. The opposing party is now also facing possible court sanctions for his misrepresentations.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.