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Hot Topics in Investigation: Attorney or Client - Who Hires the PI?, an Investigator Pleads the Fifth, 21 Items for Your Surveillance Vehicle

Attorney Work Product: Who Hires the Private Investigator?

As investigators work with individuals and companies facing litigation, the question of who is actually employing the private investigator comes into play. Some investigators, even those who are contacted directly by the attorney, will be hired by the client directly. Still, many recommend that the attorney does the hiring and not the client.

Excerpt:
“Use a service retainer agreement and collect your fees from the attorney-client fund. Include in the service agreement specific direction at the outset, either by separate letter or included in the service agreement, which outline the investigation and expected results.”

This setup, according to one expert, provides more protection for attorney-client privilege and ensures that the opposing party isn't aware of their evidence. It is generally accepted, however, that strategy discussions with attorneys are privileged.

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Private Investigator Pleads the Fifth

A private investigator plead the fifth, using his constitutional protection against self-incrimination, over 200 times while being questioned. The investigator reported that a local councilman was driving erratically after leaving a bar.

Excerpt:
A private investigator who phoned in a 911 report about a Costa Mesa city councilman driving erratically after leaving a bar pleaded the Fifth Amendment repeatedly Thursday in response to 2 1/2 hours of questioning, attorneys said.

“'The fact that he’s taking the Fifth is very significant,' said Finaldi, who took Lanzillo’s deposition at his Irvine law office. 'You only take the Fifth if there’s potential criminal exposure.'”

According to the article, it was unclear whether the investigator was hired by foes of the current mayor when he issued the complaint. Police officers determined that the councilman was not intoxicated.

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21 Things You Should Have in Your Surveillance Vehicle

This short podcast covers 21 items every investigator should have in their surveillance vehicle. Items mentioned in the podcast range.

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