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When to get an Investigator rather than Discovery and Deposition

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Discovery

I have a lawyer and we are in midst of a case.

I need to find out some things before I am to proceed. If certain facts exists I will go further with the case, other wise I will settle.

In discovery or in deposition people seem to have a chance to amend their answers.
I don't know what is found out in an investigation is more or less solid.

I need to determine if certain people were involved in a deal. Discovery may be too late. I need to find out now.

How would you do it?

Attorney Answers 3


First I would plan this with your attorney. Based on what you have stated, it couldn't hurt to hire an investigator to interview witnesses and record them with their permission. It may be quicker than waiting fo discovery responses. You can always proceed into the discovery phase if you can't find the information you are seeking. Good luck.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

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I agree with Ms. Allen - you should have this discussion with your attorney. If you're not pleased with the way your attorney is handling your case, then discuss it with them and/or hire new counsel.

I would add that private investigators are not cheap (and their costs you will either have to front, or they'll be taken out of any settlement you get, most likely). Moreover, as you seem concerned parties can try to amend their discovery answers -- well, nothing prevents a person interviewed by an investigator from attempting that either.

Finally, the exact purpose of your consideration of an investigator, i.e., to see if "people were involved in a a deal," is rather vague, so I'm not certain we can really answer your question. Again, speak with your attorney.

The information/answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Consult an attorney regarding your individual situation. This attorney is only licensed to practice law in California. Your question and this answer do not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not send/post any confidential information.

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1 comment

David Andrew Mallen

David Andrew Mallen


One possible advantage is that an investigator can impeach the testimony of a flip-flopping witness by prior inconsistent statements, after counsel has asked whether the witness said "X" to the investigator. As long as the investigator has good notes.


None of us in the Internet world have nearly as much information as your current attorney.

Generally speaking, hiring an investigator and conducting traditional civil discovery are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes, both avenues are necessary to win (or favorably settle) a lawsuit.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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