51 Buff. L. Rev. 337 (2003)
You've Got Mail: The Modern Trend towards Universal Electronic Service of Process; Colby, Jeremy A.

handle is hein.journals/buflr51 and id is 347 raw text is: You've Got Mail: The Modern Trend Towards
Universal Electronic Service of Process
JEREMY A. COLBYt
A modern trend exists in the law toward universal
electronic service.' Indeed, federal courts have recently
t J.D., Boston University School of Law, 1999; B.A., Niagara University, 1996.
The author is a Confidential Law Clerk to Senior United States District Court
Judge John T. Elfvin of the United States District Court for the Western
District of New York and a former litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate,
Meagher & Flom LLP in Boston, Massachusetts. The views expressed in this
article are entirely my own and do not reflect those of any past or present
employer or client. The author thanks Scott T. Hanson for his comments. All
mistakes and inadequacies, however, are mine. The author's e-mail address is
jeremyacolby@aol.com.
1. See BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 1372 (7th ed. 1999) (defining service as the
formal delivery of a writ, summons, or other legal process and defining
service of process as the formal delivery of some other legal notice, such as a
pleading). Electronic service refers to service made by e-mail, facsimile or other
electronic means. E-mail is shorthand for electronic mail, which the New
York State Court of Appeals has described as an:
Evolutionary hybrid of traditional telephone line communications and
regular postal service mail .... [T]o transmit a message, one must
have access to an on-line service's e-mail system and must know the
recipient's personal e-mail address. Once this is accomplished, a person
may communicate by composing a message in the e-mail computer
system and dispatching it telephonically (or through some other
dedicated electronic line) to one or more recipients' electronic
mailboxes.
Lunney v. Prodigy Servs. Co., 723 N.E.2d 539, 541 (N.Y. 1999) (citation and
footnote omitted). See also Reno v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844, 851
(1997) (E-mail enables an individual to send an electronic message-generally
akin to a note or letter-to another individual or to a group of addressees. The
message is generally stored electronically, sometimes waiting for the recipient
to check her 'mailbox' and sometimes making its receipt known through some
type of prompt.); .Steven R. Salbu, Who Should Govern the Internet?:
Monitoring and Supporting a New Frontier, 11 HARv. J.L. & TECH. 429, 471-72
(1998) (noting that regular postal service mail is known colloquially as snail
mail). E-mail is sent over the Internet, which is an international network of
interconnected computers ... enabl[ing] tens of millions of people to
communicate with one another and to access vast amounts of information from
around the world. Reno, 521 U.S. at 849-50; see also Philip Giordano, Invoking

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