Choosing An Investigation Company: A Guide for Complex Litigation Firms

A complex litigation attorney significantly benefits from the keen skills of a private investigator and the expertise they bring to a case.

By Carla Rodriguez | Jan. 9, 2024 | 5 min. read


In complex litigation, the success of a case often hinges on the quality and depth of the investigations conducted. Whether you’re dealing with multiple defendants, intellectual property conflicts, or corporate disputes, selecting the right investigations company is paramount. This guide is crafted specifically for complex litigation firms, offering insights into the surveillance, background checks, and SIU needs that will make a difference during litigation.


Complex Litigation Case Example

Let’s start by understanding the unique needs of complex litigation cases and the benefits of private investigators for complex litigation needs.

Case Example:

The “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement” (MSA) in the United States concluded in 1998 involved 46 US states and major tobacco companies. This was one of the largest and most intricate legal settlements in American judicial history.

Tobacco companies have been notorious for their lawsuit claims from individuals and states seeking compensation for smoking-related illnesses. The claim here was that tobacco companies purposely misled the public about the dangers of smoking and manipulated the nicotine levels in cigarettes to get people addicted.

What exactly makes this case a complex litigation? Let’s review the high-value, high-risk situations related to this case:

Key Elements of Complexity:

  1. Multiple Interests: The tobacco case involved 46 U.S. states and several major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Brown & Williamson. Every state has its own laws and policies making the coordination of multiple interests a complex situation.
  2. Healthcare Costs and Public Health Impact: States sought compensation for the significant healthcare costs incurred due to smoking-related illnesses. Additionally, the case addressed the broader public health impact of smoking making it a high-profile case.
  3. Allegations of Misconduct: Plaintiffs alleged that tobacco companies engaged in deceptive marketing practices suppressed scientific evidence on the health risks of smoking, and manipulated nicotine levels to increase addiction.
  4. Class Actions and Individual Lawsuits: The case involved both class-action lawsuits at the public level, where groups of individuals collectively sued the tobacco industry. Additionally, states filed lawsuits to seek compensation for Medicaid costs.

Final Statement:

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement imposed restrictions on tobacco company marketing and prohibited tobacco companies from targeting minors.

Pro tip: Make sure the investigation company you are working with has 24/7 customer support with same-day response times.


Complex Litigation Investigation Tools

Complex lit firms need their investigation professionals to make the arduous process of these cases more manageable.

What type of Surveillance Do You Need?

Preliminary investigations that go deeper into the subject’s lifestyle and affiliations. Are they registered at the Y? Do they have a small business? Are they registered voters?

Surveillance videos will get you the evidence you requested. Excellent capture rates (90%) and a high film quality with the most important bits highlighted for convenience.

Experienced investigators will blend in with their environment. A professional investigator will avoid drawing attention to themselves and comply with all necessary rules and regulations. This includes not risking surveilling in a state where they are not licensed.


What type of Background Checks Do You Need?

Intense nationwide research into prior injuries and claims going 30 years back. An in-depth discovery period that highlights the red flags found during the background check.

Deep Internet Mining of the subject(s) that includes all social media platforms and searches of affiliated friends and family. Professional background checks will also be conducted to confirm past and current employment.

Broader geographic reach which includes all places the subject(s) ever lived in. This search should include minor, and major offenses and courthouse direct searches.


What Do You Need from an SIU Team?

Experienced professionals who have previously worked on claims, insurance, and court cases. An established special investigation unit will provide you with detailed, accurate reports that can be presented in front of a jury.

Immediate response to any field investigation. You want the right people at the scene to collect as much information on your behalf.

Witness canvassing is done by trained investigators with experience interviewing key witnesses. Thoroughly interviewing everyone involved is the best way of extracting public opinion and local knowledge about the case. The more people you talk to even though you can’t use what they say as evidence it may have potential to lead your team to a new answer or avenue on how to approach the case.


Avoid a Complex Solution

The involvement of a skilled private investigator should be seen as a requirement for complex litigation cases. The success of a case often rests on the thoroughness and quality of investigations, particularly in scenarios like the historic “Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement” (MSA) in the United States. This landmark case involved 46 states and major tobacco companies, navigating a web of multiple interests, healthcare cost implications, and allegations of misconduct.

Complex litigation demands precise investigative work, and this is our guide for selecting the right investigations company. From intensive surveillance that delves into the subject’s lifestyle to nationwide background checks spanning 30 years, the requirements are extensive. A Professional investigator, adept at blending into their surroundings, becomes indispensable in high-risk, high-value, high-exposure situations. Moreover, we emphasize the need for a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) team with experienced professionals, immediate response capabilities, and adept witness canvassing.

Be confident and aggressive in your approach to complex litigation cases and we will do the same. Ethos has a highly specialized team that works closely with complex litigation clients who need investigative services. Our experts have 30 years of experience and are versed in the needs of attorneys dealing with complex cases.  Reach out to one of our operations managers or quickly open a case. 

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