SYDNEY: An Australian music festival promoter has served a damages claim against American rapper Flo Rida via Facebook, after a court allowed the social networking site to be used.
The 32-year-old singer, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, received a Aus$55,000 (US$56,800) fee to perform at the Fat as Butter festival last October but failed to show up, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
The New South Wales District Court last month imposed a freeze on assets Dillard has in Australia, but the singer has yet to respond, prompting the court to allow a claim to be served on him via Facebook rather than in person.
The claim seeking damages for breach of contract for his non-appearance at the concert was then sent to Dillard via a link on his official Facebook page, the paper said.
Matthew Hourn, a lawyer for festival promoter Mothership Music, said officials had tried to contact the rapper during a recent visit Down Under for Australia’s television awards but were unsuccessful.
“Our process server tried arranging meetings with his agents and attended appearances in Melbourne — but due to his large entourage and security, we were unable to serve him personally,” Hourn said.
Flo Rida has more than 5.9 million likes on his Facebook site, which is regularly updated with photos of the star.
It is not the first time Australian officials have resorted to using Facebook, a social networking giant with more than 800 million active users, but Hourn said it could be a first for a damages case in New South Wales.
In 2010, Australian police served a court order on an alleged cyber bully using Facebook after attempts to serve it in person, over the telephone or via the post failed in what was believed to be a national first.
Two years earlier, an Australian lawyer won the right to serve legal documents via Facebook, while also in 2008 a Sydney court allowed lawyers to serve rugby player Sonny Bill Williams with a subpoena via SMS text message.