Many of our clients turn to us when other investigators or process servers have not been successful serving documents. We use all the tools in our investigative arsenal to effect service. Below are examples of some of the more colorful services we've made.
Serving a Rich Businessman
We were asked to serve one of the richest men in this country. A previous investigator had attempted to serve him at his office in a high-rise building but could not get past the layers of underlings preventing access to him. Nor was the previous investigator able to serve him at his residence, which was on a large parcel of completely fenced and gated land. This businessman also spent a great deal of time traveling in his private jet to various places around the world where he had business interests and residences. When we got the assignment, the first thing we did was to do in-depth research to find out as much as we could about this wealthy individual. We soon discovered that he was in the process of purchasing a casino and, to do that, he had to appear in person at the Nevada Gaming Board at their upcoming meeting in Carson City, Nevada. We informed our client that we felt we could effect service in Carson City at that meeting. Our client asked us to use our own investigators rather than local ones, so we sent two investigators to Carson City. We positioned one investigator in the parking lot and one in the meeting itself, to insure that he could not get by us. As the subject exited his SUV to enter the building where the Gaming Board was meeting, our investigator in the parking lot served him. He graciously accepted the documents. Needless to say, our client was very happy.
Serving a Slippery Stuntwoman
We were asked to serve a woman who had worked as an actress and stuntwoman. The problem was that she now lived "off the grid." No one, including us, had been able to locate a current address for her. She was deeply in debt and was evading everyone. She did, however, have an internet presence in which she talked about her accomplishments as an actress and stuntwoman and posted an email address where she could be contacted for "work". Our investigator, posing as a writer working on a book about stuntwomen, contacted her at her email address. The former stuntwoman called our investigator, interested in doing the interview. After several telephone conversations testing our investigator to make sure she was really a writer, the subject agreed to meet in a parking lot and then go to a nearby restaurant for the interview. When the former stuntwoman pulled into the parking lot in her very large truck, our investigator walked to the passenger door and threw the documents into the truck through the open window, telling the former stuntwoman that she had been served. Furious, the subject threw the papers out of her car and sped off. We knew, of course, that service is effective regardless of the person refusing to take the document in hand- In re Ball, 2 Cal. App. 2d 578, 38 P.2d 411 (1934). So, despite her slippery stunts, this stuntwoman had been served and our client was happy.
Serving an Evasive Attorney
We recently were given the challenge of serving a deposition subpoena on an attorney who had already indicated that she would avoid process serving; at a prior deposition when she gave testimony for the “other side” she refused to answer the questions of our client attorney because he hadn’t served her with a subpoena prior to her deposition and she therefore felt she didn’t have to answer his questions, only those of the attorneys who had subpoenaed her. This of course is in direct contravention of the provisions of CCP 2025.330 (d) and Evidence code 773.
Prior to actually attempting to serve the witness, we conducted some limited research in order to determine a) who might be living with her at her home b) any possible places that she might be working (the information on the California Bar Association Website didn’t indicate any law firms, telephone numbers, faxes or email addresses for her, simply her residence address) c) any Internet commentary on any of the social media websites that might assist us in determining her activities. We also identified the vehicles she owned and might be driving.
We then proceeded to attempt service on her. Despite several well-planned attempts to serve her, she proved to the literal “artful dodger”; the service was made especially difficult by the fact that she kept no regular business hours.
Finally, we decided to use two investigators to stakeout the residence, one investigator who was able to see the residence and the other who was positioned farther down the street. On the day that we decided to conduct our concerted effort, we first determined that the subject was in fact, in the house by speaking with a daughter who was home, visiting from college.
As the daughter was denying that her mother was home, our investigator heard a woman’s voice call out, “tell them I’m in the shower.” Now we knew our subject was in the home. Our investigator returned to the fixed position surveillance vehicle and waited.
Approximately one hour after this encounter, the garage door flew open and out roared a car with the witness at the helm. She made a swerving turn onto the street and sped off. Our investigator with a view of the residence alerted the one at the end of the street that she was coming, but almost as soon as they began talking, the witness flew by at a very high rate of speed.
Our investigator gave chase.Within a few moments the witness and our investigator arrived at an intersection with a red light. The witness didn’t even hesitate -- she ran right through the light, placing herself and the general public at great risk. We wanted to serve this witness very badly, but we would never put anyone in harm’s way to accomplish that.
Fortunately, when the light turned green, our investigator was able to cross the intersection where she saw the fleeing attorney at the next intersection that also had a red light, but this time, there were several cars in front of her and she could not run the light. Our investigator pulled up behind her vehicle, exited the pursuit vehicle and placed the subpoena on the front window of the witness’ car while shouting, “You have been served with a subpoena.”
On returning to the pursuit vehicle the investigator observed the witness exit her car, take the subpoena from the window and throw it unto the street. Nevertheless, like the stuntwoman, this evasive attorney had still been properly served.
On the date of the deposition, the witness did appear, with her own attorney in tow, much to the delight of our client.