Email instead of nail ‘n’ mail?

Important ruling for people who litigate on and about the Internet, from Evan Brown:

The court allowed service of the summons to an e-mail address Pine had used in a classified ad listing his house for sale. The court held that given the uncertainty about the success of the attempted “nailing and mailing” effort [“nailing” the summons of process to the door and mailing it by first class], and the fact that the Pine’s attorneys wouldn’t give a clear answer as to where Pine was living, alternative service by e-mail was appropriate.

This might sound eminently logical, and it is, but if you’re a civilian you may not appreciate that the manner in which process is served on a person for purposes of bringing him into the court’s jurisdiction — the way you “get someone in the case” — is a very big deal with constitutional (due process) implications. This New York State court decision is important, because New York is also the home of the instution of “sewer service” — where the process server, rather than report his frustration with finding the defendant, just dumps the papers (“in da sewah”) and swears out an affidavit of service, letting the chips fall where they may.

This is for sure better — which is not to suggest that the Internet isn’t a sewer, in its own way, too.

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.