A new bill filed by Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, if passed, would allow Texas courts the authority to prescribe service of citation through a social media site, such as Twitter or Facebook, in the absence of other more traditional avenues of service. H.B. 1989 would allow the court to authorize substituted service by social media site when it finds that a defendant (1) maintains a social media page, (2) has a profile on the social media page that is the profile of the defendant, (3) "regularly accesses" the social media page account, and (4) could "reasonably be expected to receive actual notice if the electronic communication were sent to the defendant's account." Although it has been reported that courts in other countries, as well as a limited number in the U.S., have allowed for service by social media, questions regarding authenticity of such online accounts may have deterred others from utilizing such method of service. However, in a time when half a billion Facebook users check their page daily, it is understandable that given a certain set of circumstances, including a detailed profile and user statistics, service of citation via social media may be a logical alternative for some courts to consider. You can follow H.B. 1989 during the 83rd Session online.

For more information, please contact Summer D. Swallow, sswallow@bakerlaw.com or 713.646.1306.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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