Texas Supreme Court decision makes changes to civil lawsuit service

E-mail and social media acceptable for notification

AUSTIN – A decision from The Texas Supreme Court will significantly change how parties in a civil lawsuit can receive notification.

The decision allows the use of e-mail and social media for notification.

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Previously, it was done in person by a constable, his or her deputies or a licensed process server.

“I see challenges in the court by the party being served by the defendant, indicating that he or she was not served properly,” Bexar County Precinct 3 Chief Deputy Russ Brandau said Friday.

Brandau’s colleague, Precinct 3 Capt. Arthur Buford, said he is concerned about maintaining the service’s privacy.

“There are people who love to the hack in there to change things,” Buford said. “It’s just gonna make things difficult.”

The method of service must be approved by the judge in whose court the litigation is filed.

Verification of service through e-mail is acceptable, and some consider the new methods faster and more economical, but not everyone.

“Face-to-face has been the best, and it’s been the most reliable,” Buford said.

About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.