Using social media to serve legal papers

On Sept. 30, a federal magistrate judge ruled a nonprofit corporation based in California could use Twitter to serve legal papers on a foreign defendant who has actively raised money to fund Islamic State Group attacks on Christians in Iraq and Syria. St. Francis Assisi has been unsuccessful in serving the defendant — Hajjaj al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti national — through other means. The magistrate judge for the Northern District of California approved use of the social media platform by St. Francis Assisi, saying service via Twitter is “reasonably calculated to give notice” and is not prohibited by international agreement. The magistrate judge also noted that al-Ajmi has a large following on Twitter and has used the platform to raise large sums of money for terrorist organizations. Randy L. Dryer, presidential honors professor and lecturer in the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, is available to answer questions about the use of social media for service of process generally and specifically as it relates to foreign defendants under this ruling.