Flo Rida failed to show up for his headline spot at a Australian music festival in October 2011. The festival’s promoter, Mothership Music, said it paid him a $377,000 appearance fee in advance.
Mothership sued Flo Rida and his management. However, Mothership’s legal team failed to physically serve papers when the 33-year-old was in Australia on later occasions. He apparently caught word of the lawsuit and dodged attempts to serve him.
Justice Judith Gibson allowed Mothership to serve papers through email and Flo Rida’s official Facebook page last May. She ordered him to pay the promoter $400,000 in costs and damages when he failed to appear in court. Flo Rida appealed, claiming Gibson did not have jurisdiction to serve papers that way.
Celebrities typically receive hundreds, if not thousands, of messages on Facebook and other social networks every day. Those posts often getting buried in newsfeeds without so much as a record company intern even looking at them.
Justice Robert McFarlan upheld the appeal on Tuesday. He ruled there was a lack of evidence showing the Facebook page actually belonged to Flo Rida, and there was no proof Flo Rida would view the summons “in a timely fashion,” said McFarlan, who also dismissed Gibson’s damages judgement.
Facebook, however, had verified Flo Rida’s page, indicating it’s officially associated with the rapper in some capacity.
Though Mothership’s legal team was unsuccessful in serving papers to Flo Rida, others have used Facebook to bring defendants to court, including at least two cases in Australia. Meanwhile, Texas will allow sheriffs and process servers to serve papers through social media accounts when a bill introduced earlier this year becomes law next month.