There has been much publicity over the lawsuit brought against celebrities such as Tom Brady and Larry David for their endorsement of FTX. In that case, the judge refused a request to serve Shaquille O’Neal through social media platforms, including Twitter, based on O’Neal’s allegedly taking steps to avoid service.
But there is a similar case in Miami, assigned to district judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, brought against Tom Nash and other social media influencers in which it is alleged that they failed to disclose that FTX was compensating them for actively promoting FTX accounts that Plaintiffs claim were unregistered securities. On May 2, 2023, Judge Altonaga authorized service on Nash through Twitter and e-mail.
Nash, it is alleged, lives in the country of Georgia. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(f)(3) allows a district court to order an alternate method for service to be executed on foreign defendants, provided it is not prohibited by international agreement and is reasonably calculated to give notice to the defendants. The judge held that, under the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters, even if a country objects to service by mail, that does equate to an express objection to service via electronic mail.
The court said that e-mail, social media, and posting on a designated website were reasonably calculated to give notice to Nash. Nash was shown to be an active Twitter user. In addition, there was an e-mail address that Plaintiffs’ counsel had used previously and the e-mail did not bounce back, indicating Nash received it and his e-mail address is valid and operational.
The court ruled that service — and all future filings — could be made by (i) publishing on the law firm’s dedicated website, (ii) tweeting Nash a link to these filings, and (iii) e-mailing him the complaint and the link to the dedicated website.