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The Investigator/Attorney Relationship

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Why should an attorney use an investigator when they have a paralegal in the office?

It’s no secret that attorneys utilize paralegals to handle many investigative related tasks. Instead of viewing it as an “either/or” situation, look at the possibilities of utilizing both investigators and paralegals and see how additional resources can help save time and return better results.

Attorney support services include: Witness locates, interviews, photographing locations, records retrieval, asset checks, backgrounds of various levels, social networking searches, cyber profiles and reports written to withstand scrutiny in court.

Can a paralegal do all of that? Yes. A paralegal’s duties reflect the attorney’s requirements and depending on the case, the requirements may be enormous.

An investigator’s skills complement and dovetail with a paralegal’s duties. While the paralegal is busy working directly with the attorney preparing the case to be presented, the investigator can be out pulling records, locating witnesses and scheduling interviews, conducting a background investigation and Social Media Investigation and creating a report compiled from the data. An investigator provides an additional resource with skills that may differ slightly or greatly from a paralegal, but the goal is still to provide the attorney with crucial documentation for their case.

Colorado Process Servers Annual Conference and Education Seminar

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Process Servers Association of Colorado

Annual Conference and Education Seminar Agenda

Oct 13, 2012 – 8 am – 5 pm

Preliminary

  http://www.psaco.org/calendar/psaco-2012-annual-conference/

8:00 – 9:15 am PSACO State of the Association PSACO
9:15 – 10:00 am Selecting the Proper Entity Type and Independent Contractor Rules Victor Amaya – ClearPath Accounts
10:00 – 10:15 am NAPPS Promotion and Growth Ruth Reynolds

NAPPS Director

10:15 – 10:30 am Break  
10:30 – 11:00 am Effecting Service at Hospitals

 

Richard Reed

Denver Health

 

11:00 -12:00 pm Mr. Gadget – Devices available covertly documenting service, surveillance and interviews (Live Demo) Stacy Smallwood

Smallwood Investigations

Noon Lunch Break

  • Process Server Stories (Begins at 12:30 pm, in the Meeting Room for those who want to share)
 
1:00 – 1:45 pm Risk Management – Protecting Your Business and Your Personal Assets Eric Vennes

Pacific Coast Insurance

1:45 – 2:30 pm Online Marketing Trent Carlyle ServeNow
2:30 – 2:45 pm Break  
2:45 -3:15 pm Completing Tough Serves – Techniques Marshall Wolf

Risk PI

3:15– 4:00 pm Handling Contact by Local Law Enforcement and Reporting Process Server Assault Russ Hickmon

Russell A. Hickmon, LLC

4:15 – 5:00 pm
  • Getting Service By Refusal through the Courts and Testifying In Motion to Quash Hearings
  • Closing Statement
Steve Glenn

PSACO

  • Questions regarding our Industry (Developed by Ron Jamison)
  • Affirmative Defense
  • Trespass
  • Harassment/Stalking

 

 

Process Servers Association of Colorado

PSACO Business Meeting Detail

Oct 13, 2012 – 8 am – 9 am

  

8:00 – 8:15 am Welcome and PSACO Officer Introductions Cindy Johnson

Vice President

8:15 – 8:30 am PSACO Committee Reports

  • Treasury Report
  • Arbitration Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Legislative Committee
  • Membership Committee

 

Committee Chair
8:30 – 8:45 am By-Laws Amendment(s) Votes Emanual Najee-Ullah
8:45 – 9:15 am State of the Association Steve Glenn

PSACO

 

 

Private Investigator Training Conference

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

 

Colorado Springs Private Investigators Conference

 
PROFESSIONAL PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION OF COLORADO

Invites YOU…
To the PPIAC 2012 Rocky Mountain Conference
October 17-20, 2012
Antlers Hilton Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado

There’s still time to take advantage of the 2012 Rocky Mountain PI Conference! Sign up TODAY to ensure the lowest rates!

Our venue this year is at the Antlers Hilton Hotel, located in downtown Colorado Springs, from October 17-20th. AAA has given the Antlers Hilton Hotel a 4 Diamond rating. New renovations have enhanced this already- luxurious hotel into a truly memorable stay. PPIAC has secured a rate of $130.00/night, with free parking (valet parking is available for an additional fee) available to conference attendees. Mention you are a part of the PPIAC Conference for the special rate. The hotel is rich in history, and has many amenities: an indoor pool, complimentary internet for attendees, a complimentary fitness center, and an on-site micro-brewery, to name but a few. The venue will be held in the tiered-seating learning center.

The downtown location affords stunning views of the mountains, wonderful shopping and dining, as well as nearby entertainment for the whole family. The Antlers Hilton is just minutes away from the Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, Seven Falls, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cave of the Winds, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, and many other attractions.

We have several excellent speakers this year, and a banquet with a keynote speaker on Friday night. Our days end early enough for plenty of networking with other conference-goers, as well as sightseeing and exploring the area. Below are the links to the Conference website, the schedule, the speaker bios, and the Antlers Hilton website.

http://ppiac.org/training/private-investigator-conference-colorado-springs

http://ppiac.org/training/private-investigator-conference-colorado-springs/2012-ppiac-conference-schedule

http://ppiac.org/training/private-investigator-conference-colorado-springs/2012-ppiac-conference-speaker-bios

http://antlers.com/

PPIAC is also pleased to present a day-long pre-conference training event, for PPIAC members and non-members alike. This free event is held on October 17th. Attendees must RSVP to training@ppiac.org. RSVP quickly, as seats are limited!
September 1st- October 16th:
PPIAC Members: $200.00 Non-Members: $250.00

October 18th:
PPIAC Members: $275.00 Non-Members: $300.00

Limit Your Liability Using Investigators

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Choose an investigator who is insured. An investigator with sufficient insurance will prevent liability from falling back on the client if an investigation goes wrong. Does your investigator carry commercial automobile, professional liability and errors and omissions?

Choose an investigator who is licensed. A licensed investigator has been shown to be qualified, vetted and demonstrated a minimum amount of experience to the state in which he or she is licensed. A licensed investigator eases the burden of due dilligence on the client. Clients can be assured that a licensed investigator’s testimony at a hearing will not be disqualified due to felonies or other questionable histories in their background.

Ask the investigator you use whether the information/documentation they provide will be able to withstand the scrutiny of opposing counsel. Is the information accurate, factual and unbiased? Was the information obtained in a legal manner? Information is of no benefit in a legal setting if it cannot withstand the scrutiny of a judge and cannot be entered into evidence for a case.

Do your investigators adhere to applicable laws during the process of an investigation? Do they know which laws apply to them? Does the investigator use “baiting” methods by contacting represented claimants, gather information that is clearly private and are they aware of the difference between surveillance and harassment/stalking? Investigators who do not take into consideration trespassing, reasonable expectation of privacy, FCRA compliance, etc will surely increase liability to their clients. For insurers, an improper investigation can even increase the risk of bad faith claims.

Ask your investigator if the equipment they use can withstand legal scrutiny. Was a GPS tracking device improperly/illegally used on your case? Will the video equipment be able to display date and time stamped video footage?

Limit your liability in the workplace by conducting background checks on potential and current employees. Do they have, domestic violence, drug or DUI charges, stalking/harassment issues or other questionable records in their backgrounds?

With current employees, conducting employee misconduct investigations can reveal drug/alcohol use on the job, theft of equipment/material items, time theft, disgruntled employee harassment and other issues in the workplace. These issues can lead to increased liability.

Make sure your investigator is aware that he/she is a representative of you, the client. Know your investigator and do not tolerate investigator misconduct with your cases. Your investigator should conduct themselves in a professional manner from beginning of the case to the end. Does the investigator reflect well on you in a legal setting? Believability and credibility in the eyes of a judge and jury are dramatically affected by an investigator who is professionally dressed and conducts themselves in a professional manner.

 

 

Colorado Private Investigator License Signed Into Law

Friday, June 10th, 2011

In the afternoon of Friday, June 10, 2011, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado received an email from Colorado Senator and bill sponsor Linda Newell. June 10th was the last day for Governor John Hickenlooper to make a decision on several bills. HB11-1195 was in the mix with those bills. The Governor could either sign the bill, veto it, or not sign it. If it was not signed, it would still become law. In the final tense hours of the business day, HB1195 was FINALLY signed into law!!!! PPIAC, and all Colorado investigators for that matter who have long desired to obtain a license can breathe a big sigh of relief.

The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado has been involved in over 30 years of efforts to restore licensing, only to face defeat after defeat. HB 11-1195 specifically has been at least a 1 1/2 year long effort. Decades of efforts, plannings, meetings, phone calls, sunrise studies, drafting of bills, fund raising, lobbying, contacting legislators, testifying, etc. have all culminated in today’s signing. I want to thank all Colorado PI licensing proponents for their support. Today’s historic achievement could not have happened without the strength in numbers of Colorado investigators, as well as the support of our fellow professional colleagues across the country! Private investigators interested in obtaining their Colorado licenses will now anxiously await for the licensing program to be implemented in 2012.

Private Investigator Colorado License Closer to Reality

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Denver, CO

Private Investigators in Colorado took two large steps forward in their goal of obtaining a Colorado license. On February 17, 2011 DORA, the Department of Regulatory Agencies, issued their 2011 Sunrise Review for Private Investigators with a recommendation to regulate private investigators and require either a surety bond or errors and omissions insurance and passage of a jurisprudence examination. DORA’s recommendation is believed to be the first time that the agency has issued a recommendation to regulate PIs. Past reviews by DORA have resulted in recommendations that private investigators and private detectives needed no regulation as there was not enough proof of public harm.

On February 22, 2011 Colorado House Bill 1195, concerning the voluntary licensure of private investigators, passed unanimously through the House Committee with a vote of 11-0. House Bill 1195 was introduced as the result of a licensing committee formed by the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado. House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs discussed the desire of PIs to enhance their professionalism and credentials through a private investigator license. Because of the voluntary nature of the bill, a private investigator without a license could continue operating in Colorado, but could not hold him/herself out to be a “licensed private investigator”. A portion of the CO licensing bill which granted access to public records in an unredacted form was struck out of the bill. The House Committee recommended the bill contain an amendment restricting individuals who have been convicted of unlawful sexual behavior, domestic violence, stalking, or a violation of a protection order as defined by Colorado Revised Statutes.

Colorado House Bill 1195 now moves to the House Finance Committee and one step closer to PIs being able to hold themselves out as a Colorado licensed private investigator.

Colorado Private Investigator Licensing News

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Currently, Colorado is one of a handful of states that have no licensing standards for private investigators. Advanced Private Investigations, LLC in its involvement with the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado has recognized the need for licensing to raise the standard of professionalism for private investigators as well as to better address access to public records and databases. API is comprised of Senior Members of PPIAC.

As a leader of PI training and legislative matters in Colorado, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado is taking a proactive, rather than reactive approach to licensing which will more effectively direct the outcome of legislation. In this case the increasingly attention-garnering topic of Colorado’s lack of licensing standards will be better directed if introduced by PPIAC than by non-PI groups.

PPIAC has worked for several months beginning in mid-2010 to bring a private investigator licensing bill to Colorado. Early in February 2011, that goal became a reality when HB11-1195 was introduced to the Colorado General Assembly. PPIAC formed a licensing committee to develop a unique voluntary licensing approach to a bill. This unique licensing approach, along with several other Key Points which were completely and wholly incorporated by the bill writer into HB11-1195, have already received strong support from PPIAC members as well as non member investigators. Perhaps more importantly, several Colorado legislators have already voiced their support of the bill.

Another unique approach of HB11-1195 is the bi-partisan sponsorship that the bill has received. Representative Bob Gardner(R) volunteered to be the prime sponsor in the House. Representative Su Ryden(D) has agreed to be a co-sponsor in the House. Senator Linda Newell(D) is the prime sponsor in the Senate. PPIAC continues to seek a Republican co-sponsor in the Senate.

All Colorado private investigators and detectives, both PPIAC members and non-members alike are strongly encouraged to join forces to support what looks to be Colorado’s best opportunity yet of having a Colorado PI license become reality. Already PPIAC has received approximately $5,000 in donations from members and non-member investigators to help fund PPIAC’s lobbyist. PPIAC’s goal is to raise $12,000 to pay for the lobbyist’s representation throughout the 2011 Colorado legislative session.

Please consider making a donation! Visit www.ppiac.org and look for the PayPal button to make a donation. A full version of HB11-1195 can also be located on the website.

The Importance of Using an Unbiased Private Investigator

Friday, January 28th, 2011

As claimant attorneys become more aware of the use of surveillance in workers compensation (and other related) claims, they have responded by focusing on the investigation itself.  Many of their strategies lay in questioning the impartiality of the private investigator conducting the investigation. 

Using an unbiased private investigator is critical when insuring there has been no conflict of interest on a case, and that the results produced from the investigation have truly remained objective. The use of ‘in-house’ investigators has proven to be an especially vulnerable area for attorneys to attack the impartiality of surveillance. 

A private investigator has no part in adjusting or administering the claim; the only association they have is in conducting the investigation itself.  Their compensation does not hinge on the outcome of the claim.  Accusation of bias is far less likely to adhere to a private investigator conducting surveillance on a claim than to an in-house investigator. 

Our investigators document all of a claimant’s activities that can be observed in public, assuring the case cannot be discredited through bias. 

Our impartiality is your greatest strength.

Fees/Charges

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Many clients will get tunnel vision when it comes to the hourly fee of the investigator and they use this factor as the only one in picking an investigator. This, of course can be a major mistake. You are not shopping for a shirt; you are shopping for a PROFESSIONAL service; one which requires skill, experience, and knowledge. A client should always look at the case as if it will go to court, even if it never does. It is very difficult to compare ‘apples to apples’ in picking an investigator. More appropriate questions that clients can ask in reference to cost are: Can the client set a cap on the fees and expenses of the case? Can the investigator/agency give an estimate of the cost of completing the case?

Investigators have different fees depending on the case. The fees can include travel time, vehicle rental, mileage charges, toll charges, hotel/meal reimbursements, report fees, court copy/document retrieval fees, court preparation and testifying fees, video/audio copy fees, telephone calls, etc. The investigator should also give updates or progress reports. Keep in mind, however, that with all other charges being equal, if, for example a $70/hour surveillance investigator can give the same results in 5 hours versus a $50/hour investigator can give in 10 hours, which is the better deal?

National vs. Local Agencies

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Although national investigative agencies may seem better suited to handle a case, this is rarely true. For a Colorado case, there is no better investigator than a Colorado based investigator who is familiar with where the courts are, the towns, the streets, shortcuts to get from point A to point B, etc. A surveillance investigator who is flown in to Denver from Boston to conduct surveillance is instantly at a disadvantage from an investigator from who has been conducting surveillance in Denver for years and knows the neighborhoods and demographics of the area.
Also, the local agency will most likely turn over the completed case and billing to the client quicker than a national agency based out of state. The client has a better opportunity of meeting with the investigator face-to-face with a local agency rather than one based out of state.
A fact that is not well known outside the investigative community is that national companies usually use local investigators as sub-contractors to work the cases. If the client hired the sub-contractor investigator directly, the same product could be received in a shorter time and likely for less money as there is no middle man. There are many national companies that advertise as having local offices in Colorado. However, most of these companies just have a post office or mail drop as an address to give the illusion of having a Colorado office.