DIFFICULT SERVICE OF PROCESS

 

Tristar Investigation specializes in subpoena serviceing for many sectors of business.  Court (& Legal) related subpoena service can be challenging.  Often times the subject can’t be located or they are intentionality evading service.  If it happens to be an important case with which a deadline has to be met (or any other senarios) an experienced private investigator may be needed to track down the subject and get the legal papers served.

Subpoena Investigations, Servicing & Processing

If you have a high stakes court case in which you anticipate that the subject may be uncooperative or evasive, it’s better to hire a private detective to map out a strategy in advance rather than first sending out your attorney service to just randomly hit the door and tip off the subject that they are trying to be served with a subpoena or other court related documents.  Attorney service companies have their place for the average subpoena service but since their employees they get paid only for successful service of process, they concentrate on volume and have little incentive to focus on the more challenging subpoena service.

Frequently Asked Questions

The defendant is avoiding process service, I need to get them served.

If your defendant is avoiding service of process you need to either stake them out or devise an effective plan of attack. No matter which option you chose, a professional investigator is your best bet for the person spearheading the effort. Private investigators are skilled at difficult service of process and can minimize the headaches these project can cause.

The first thing to do is analyze the data known on the defendant and the efforts to serve them to date. What times of day was service attempted? Was there evidence that someone was home but not answering the door? What are the demographics of the defendant, are they stay-at-home types or are they going to work each day? Once this data has been scrutinized, next comes the plan of attack.

In some cases an early morning stake-out is preferred, especially if they are likely to go to work each morning. In other cases a daytime pretext door knock is recommended to gather intelligence but at the same time not alerting the household as to the intentions of the agent. These tactics can include anything from pretending to be looking for a lost dog to looking like a delivery person. There are a host of other tools in the investigators bag of tricks, each is selected to best fit the situation at hand.

A witness in my case is missing I need to find and serve them.

If you need to serve a witness in a lawsuit and they can’t be found, you need to begin by identifying what you do know and take it from there. If you have a last known address, have you tried talking to neighbors or the postal delivery person? Have you tried to request a forwarding address via a freedom of information act request to the local post office? Have you tried conducting a skip trace by an investigator or other vendor?

If these efforts have failed, then the next step is to hire a private investigator that specializes in difficult service of process to take over the project. They will need a detailed report from you or your process server on the efforts that have been made to date to serve or locate the witness. The more details you can provide, the higher the chances are for a successful outcome.

There are things you can do in advance to prevent the problem of a missing witness and that is to gather crucial identifying data on the subject early on. If you depose or interview a witness, always get key information that will help you track them down in the future. This includes full name (with the correct spelling,) date of birth and driver’s license number. In addition ask where they work and get email and cell numbers (people tend to keep the same numbers when they move.) Lastly ask for the name and number of a contact person that could contact them if they were to move.

How can I serve a subpoena on a difficult defendant?

deliveryman-flowersIf you have to serve a subpoena on a difficult defendant the worst way to start is to give the project to a process server or attorney service. These vendors have their place and are efficient in the average case. However if you have a high stakes case and the chance of a difficult serve on a defendant is present, these vendors will likely make the project more difficult than it needs to be by alerting the defendant you are trying to serve them.

The reason is that process servers working for attorney services get paid by the serve. They deal in volume and bang on doors and make their money by serving papers on the low hanging fruit. The down side is that when the bang on the door of your sketchy defendant, is answered by your defendant, they will likely deny are the correct person and tell the process server to go away. At that point the defendant goes underground, stops answering their door and you have a vigilant paranoid defendant dodging you.

On the other hand if you start by hiring a skilled private investigator to serve the defendant, they will use tactics that catch the defendant off guard. Even when they simply knock at the door the defendant will never be aware because they will always have a plausible story as to why they are there that will never tip off the defendant. So in many cases the serve is quick and easy if good forethought is employed. And in more difficult cases the private investigator has all the skills to effect the difficult service of process.

I’m trying to serve legal documents on a doctor, how do I get them served?

If you need to serve legal documents or a subpoena and a doctor or other professional, these are service targets that require special skills. Doctors often have unpredictable hours at multiple locations. In addition they can hide behind the front office staff and if they need to be personally served this can prove to very challenging.

Employing the skills of a private investigator is key to success in serving difficult professionals. They start be identifying the home address and in many cases can also identify the vehicles driven by the subject. The game plan may start with an early morning stake out of their home and service can be effected as they leave for work.

If this is not possible, an alternative plan is to serve them coming or going to their clinic, hospital or doctor offices. If a vehicle has been identified for the subject, then a scan of the parking facility can often net the subject’s parked car and the investigator sits on the car until the doctor or professional leaves work.

How do I serve someone if it requires a stakeout?

If you need to serve someone that is never home or never answers their door, these are times when an investigator is hired to conduct a stakeout, i.e. surveillance on their home or work. The service of process stakeout requires investigative skill and thorough planning.

In order to serve someone you must a) identify them b) inform them that they are being served and c) present them with the service papers. Note that if the first two are accomplished the third, presentation of the papers does not require their cooperation. So if you are staking out a subject and you see them approach their car and you call out they are being served, if they refuse to accept the papers you can toss them through an open window or slap them under the windshield wipers.

In some cases the logistics can make serving the subject as they leave their home or work difficult, say perhaps if they have a gated house or long driveway. In these cases the investigator can forgo the awkward footrace to the gate and covertly follow them by car. As soon as they stop at a long light or pull into a gas station, the service of process is more easily effected.

Examples of Subpoena Service:
  • Summons and Complaint
  • Deposition Subpoena
  • Subpoena for Trail Appearance
  • Statement of Damages
  • Restraining Orders
  • Order to Show Cause (OSC)
  • Order to Appear at Small Claims Court
  • Judgment Debtor’s Statement of AssetsOrder to Appear for Examination (OEX)
  • Completion of Your Service of Subpoena

Difficult Service of Process Options

  • Choose a Plan
  • Project consultation and regular status updates Project consultation and regular status updates
  • Talk with neighbors/canvass neighborhoodTalk with neighbors/canvass neighborhood
  • Residence verification (manager/real property)Residence verification (manager/real property)
  • Strategy review with alternate plan of action Strategy review with alternate plan of action
  • Vehicle searches by plate and/or name and addressVehicle searches by plate and/or name and address
  • Unique investigative approaches per subject's lifestyle and habitsUnique investigative approaches per subject's lifestyle and habits
  • Social media review and possible work affiliations/schedulesSocial media review and possible work affiliations/schedules
  • Identify and research relatives and associatesIdentify and research relatives and associates
  • Identify location of subject using confidential sources Identify location of subject using confidential sources
  • Secret sauce - give us a call to discussSecret sauce - give us a call to discuss
  • Level One

  • $275

    3 Attempts with Site Investigation

  • Project consultation and regular status updates yes
  • Talk with neighbors/canvass neighborhoodyes
  • Residence verification (manager/real property)
  • Strategy review with alternate plan of action
  • Vehicle searches by plate and/or name and address
  • Unique investigative approaches per subject's lifestyle and habits
  • Social media review and possible work affiliations/schedules
  • Identify and research relatives and associates
  • Identify location of subject using confidential sources
  • Secret sauce - give us a call to discuss
  • Level Two

  • $375

    1 hour stake out

  • Project consultation and regular status updates yes
  • Talk with neighbors/canvass neighborhoodyes
  • Residence verification (manager/real property)yes
  • Strategy review with alternate plan of action yes
  • Vehicle searches by plate and/or name and address
  • Unique investigative approaches per subject's lifestyle and habits
  • Social media review and possible work affiliations/schedules
  • Identify and research relatives and associates
  • Identify location of subject using confidential sources
  • Secret sauce - give us a call to discuss
  • Level Three

  • $475

    3 hour stake out

  • Project consultation and regular status updates yes
  • Talk with neighbors/canvass neighborhoodyes
  • Residence verification (manager/real property)yes
  • Strategy review with alternate plan of action yes
  • Vehicle searches by plate and/or name and addressyes
  • Unique investigative approaches per subject's lifestyle and habitsyes
  • Social media review and possible work affiliations/schedules
  • Identify and research relatives and associates
  • Identify location of subject using confidential sources
  • Secret sauce - give us a call to discuss
  • Level Four

  • $500 and up

    Complex custom projects/rush

  • Project consultation and regular status updates yes
  • Talk with neighbors/canvass neighborhoodyes
  • Residence verification (manager/real property)yes
  • Strategy review with alternate plan of action yes
  • Vehicle searches by plate and/or name and addressyes
  • Unique investigative approaches per subject's lifestyle and habitsyes
  • Social media review and possible work affiliations/schedulesyes
  • Identify and research relatives and associatesyes
  • Identify location of subject using confidential sources yes
  • Secret sauce - give us a call to discussyes

Difficult Service of Process Options

Level 1 – $275

3 Attempts with Site Investigation

  • Project consultation and regular status updates
  • Talk with neighbors/canvass neighborhood

Level 2 – $375

1 hour stake out

  • Includes all Level 1 searches above
  • Residence verification (manager/real property)
  • Strategy review with alternate plan of action

Level 3 – $475

3 Hour Stakeout

  • Includes all Level 1 and 2 searches above
  • Vehicle searches by plate and/or name and address
  • Unique investigative approaches per subject’s lifestyle and habits

Level 4 – $500 and up

Complex custom projects/rush

  • Includes all Level 1, 2 and 3 searches above
  • Social media review and possible work affiliations/schedules
  • Identify and research relatives and associates
  • Identify location of subject using confidential sources
  • Secret sauce – give us a call to discuss

What people are saying

Thank you for providing me with such outstanding service. I truly appreciate you and your staff for all you’ve done for me and my family…. I’m totally pleased with the outcome and their findings… Great job!

Gerome S. | Retired | USA

I have used Tristar for years. Their response time and results are unparalleled. They get my highest praise.

Robert Clayton, Attorney | Taylor & Ring, LLP | Los Angeles, CA

Tristar found my birth mothers records the same day. I am very impressed with their professionalism and the services they provide. I will use them again for any of my needs.

Dr. Claudia Barne | Professor | 23 years

Tristar was very helpful in my address search. Kellie Anguiano was very personable and kept me up to date with the search process… Thank you so much for your help!

Emily | DDS Student | 2 years | Los Angeles, CA

Tristar is by far the most reliable and efficient investigator we have ever used.

Nicole Young | Attorney, 14 years | Woodland Hills, CA

Tristar in the news

Tristar Investigation has been featured in a dozens of publications, everything from print to TV and radio. Bellow you will find Burce Robertson interviewed and discussed on famous publications such as the History Channel, New York Times, CNN and a lot more.

News Coverage Highlights

Bruce Robertson is the founder of Tristar Investigation, a private detective agency in Los Angeles, CA. Tristar has a 28-year track record of delivering quality investigative results. Headquartered in West Los Angeles, Tristar has branch offices in San Francisco.

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Real Life Private Eye

In November of 1999 Bruce Robertson, founder of Tristar Investigation, was featured on CNN Worldwide show Showbiz Today with Gloria Hillard. The report was about an ABC television show called “Snoops”, which was a glitzy send-up of life at a detective

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