The 32-year-old singer, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, received a $55,000 fee to perform at the Fat as Butter festival last October but failed to show up, sparking a legal dispute. The NSW District Court in March 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.
Brent Lean, who runs festival promoter Mothership Music, said officials had tried to contact the rapper during a recent visit for the Supafest tour and his appearance at the Logies. “We tried to serve him physically on several occasions when he was out here but he got wise to it pretty quickly,” Lean told AAP.
“We couldn’t get near him in the end because he was constantly surrounded by an entourage and security so we looked into ways of serving him via Facebook because he’s very active on social media.”
Flo Rida has more than 5.9 million likes on his Facebook site, which is regularly updated with photos of the star. Lean said Flo Rida is now obliged to respond with a legal defence in 28 days and that a judgment may be given in favour if the rapper refuses.
“We’ve painted him into a corner, now we’re confident the matter is coming to a close,” he said. “All we’ve ever wanted is an explanation and our money back and an apology.”
It is not the first time Australian officials have resorted to using Facebook, a social networking giant with more than 800 million active users. 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 union player Sonny Bill Williams with a subpoena via SMS text message.