The Third Department determined the failure to comply with the service instructions in Family Court’s order to show cause required the dismissal of the petitions:
Strict compliance with court-directed methods of service is necessary in order for the court to obtain personal jurisdiction over a respondent/defendant … . Here, petitioner’s counsel drafted and presented Family Court with a proposed order directing service pursuant to CPLR 308 (5). Specifically, the order required that the amended orders to show cause and petitions be served on two attorneys who had represented respondent in unrelated litigation and, further, that substituted service be completed as follows:
“2. By serving [respondent] at [two known] email addresses [and] by including with such emails copies of the [p]etitions, this [o]rder, and the [o]rders to show cause filed by [p]etitioner in support of the [p]etitions, in PDF format, each of such emails to be sent on or before April 28, 2014; and
3. By sending [respondent] an SMS/text message at [a known] subscriber number . . . advising her of the pendency of the two above-captioned proceedings and advising her to access her email addresses as set forth in paragraph 2 herein, to review this [o]rder and the contents of the attached PDF files and to contact her attorneys . . . for copies of the [o]rders to show cause and [p]etitions upon whom these papers have been served on her behalf, said text to be sent on or before April 28, 2014.”
Despite the fact that petitioner’s counsel created the terms upon which substituted service of process would be deemed sufficient, the record demonstrates that petitioner’s compliance with such terms was lacking. As to the email requirement, petitioner’s affidavit of service states that respondent was served on April 28, 2014 via two separate email addresses, as per Family Court’s order, and that both emails were returned as undeliverable. While neither dictates of due process nor Family Court’s order required proof that respondent actually received notice of the proceedings … , we observe that the affidavit of email service fails to state that the documents were, in fact, delivered to respondent in a PDF format.
Of greater concern, however, is the manner in which petitioner conducted service by text message. As to that particular mode of delivery, petitioner’s process server averred that, on April 28, 2014, he sent respondent a text message stating that “[p]aternity and custody petitions have been filed by [petitioner] regarding [the child]. Your court date in [Family Court] is May 21, 2014 at 9AM. Your failure to appear may result in a custody order and default. Contact [respondent’s attorneys] for copies of these documents.” Having neglected to state in the text message, as expressly required in Family Court’s order, that respondent should access her email accounts to review the documents that had been served in a PDF format by email and that the text message was being sent by virtue of Family Court’s order, we agree with Family Court’s determination that such substituted service was insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over respondent … . Matter of Keith X v Kristin Y, 2015 NY Slip Op 00429, 3rd Dept 1-15-15