If you are preparing for litigation, an asset search can answer important questions before you begin:
Is it worth filing a lawsuit?
What's the maximum potential settlement amount?
If we win a large judgment, will the defendant be able to pay?
Hudson Intelligence conducts asset searches for law firms, corporations and private individuals. We work closely with clients throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Asset Search for Litigation Support
Pre-litigation asset searches enable clients to evaluate their potential for successful financial recovery against individuals and business defendants. If litigation is successful and results in a sizable judgment for money damages, the potential for recovery of those funds depends entirely on defendant’s assets and income. If the defendant is broke or bankrupt, collection efforts – and all the time and expense of litigation – may end in frustration. Yet if the defendant has a healthy financial profile, the prospects for future recovery are positive and an informed decision to file suit can be made with confidence.
"I have used Hudson Intelligence LLC, and John Powers in particular, in the past in my law practice and have been very pleased. Coordination of my request has been easy, terms of our retention for services were clear, and reports received as promised – on time. I have been impressed with the thoroughness of John's reports. Their depth has given me and, therefore, my clients, confidence in their decision-making."
Steve Ray, Esq.
Asset Search in Anticipation of Litigation
The scope of an asset search during pre-litigation or settlement negotiations can include the following areas of assets and liabilities:
- Financial Accounts
(Personal and Business Bank Accounts, Brokerage Portfolios, Mutual Fund Accounts, Retirement Accounts, etc.)
- Tangible Assets
(Real Property, Motor Vehicles, Aircraft and Boats)
- Business Interests
(Including Shell Corporations and Special-Purpose Limited Liability Companies)
- Debt Profile
(Bankruptcies, Litigation, Liens, Judgments, Mortgages, Financing Statements, Foreclosures and Collection Suits)
Analysis is conduced to determine whether the defendant has a history of paying their debts, and how many other litigants and creditors are actively in pursuit of their assets. We also examine the extent of current encumbrances (such as liens on real property) that could affect future collection efforts.
Insights on current holdings, debt behavior, and financial background are combined to create a balanced financial profile. These findings are presented in a final report with supporting documents.
Financial Account Searches
If there are reasonable grounds to believe the defendant might transfer funds to other parties or outside the jurisdiction of the court (e.g., offshore) as soon as they are served notice of a lawsuit, then it is appropriate to proceed with financial account searches before litigation is filed.
When a civil plaintiff or federal receiver plans to petition the court to freeze the defendant’s assets, then financial accounts must first be located before prejudgment writs of attachment, preliminary injunctions and/or temporary restraining orders can be made effective. These considerations are common in cases of investment fraud and Ponzi schemes.
In other situations, it may be more cost-effective to postpone account searches until judgment is awarded. Clients can often make an informed “go/no-go” decision on whether to proceed with litigation based on a financial profile that comprehensively covers tangible assets, business interests, debts and liabilities.
If the circumstances of your case require a more comprehensive approach that includes account searches, more information on our capabilities can be found here: Our Process.
Asset Search During Settlement Negotiations
Discovery of assets is also appropriate during settlement negotiations. Insight on the financial status of other litigants – including their assets, debts and other liabilities – can be leveraged to negotiate the best possible settlement award.
Setting an appropriate settlement demand – and evaluating any counteroffer – will depend on the other side’s ability to pay. It is a fairly common tactic for defendants to plead poverty throughout this process. It is important to know whether they are in legitimate financial distress, or whether they are misrepresenting their position in hopes of reaching a low settlement figure. If they are found to have significant assets, then settlement strategy – and amount of the demand – can be pursued more aggressively.
Protection Against Fraudulent Transfers
Conducting a pre-litigation asset search has the added benefit of providing a time-stamped snapshot of the defendant’s assets at the time of the original claim. If those assets are transferred to other parties as soon as a lawsuit is filed, they can be flagged as fraudulent conveyances, and potentially unwound upon entry of judgment.
Consult an Investigator
If you would like to discuss an asset search for pre-litigation or settlement evaluation, please complete the form below. You can also speak with an investigator by contacting our offices at 800-580-8755.