Businesses across the US interact with each other and engage in commerce on a daily basis. As would be expected, issues sometimes arise, mistakes will be made, oversights will occur and accidents will happen.
More often than not such events or incidents can be dealt with easily enough between the concerned parties and business goes on. In some case, whether the issue was unintentional in nature or was negligently or even intentionally brought about, companies who feel harmed decide to rely on in-house or outside legal counsel to help them address the situation in an attempt to be made whole.
Midco Oil Corp. found themselves in just such a situation when oil rig equipment they stored with a warehouser, Blue Line Supply Co., was destroyed in a warehouse fire. Although the fire was ultimately determined to be accidental, Blue Line didn’t carry the amount of insurance necessary to cover the costs of the goods and building destroyed, including Midco’s equipment, which was insured by an international insurance carrier.
Midco’s insurer, working through their attorney Robert Andrews, decided to bring a lawsuit against Blue Line in an attempt to recover the value of the company’s equipment lost in the fire. Ultimately, the case went to settlement, at which point the plaintiff’s attorney, working off the evidence available and the information disclosed by the owner of Blue Line, sought to craft a mutually acceptable settlement offer that would bring the matter to a close.
“We worked in good faith to settle the matter with Blue Line, based on their representations,” says Andrews. “While attempting to do so, we developed the inescapable impression that we weren’t receiving full disclosure. As such, we decided that we would have to learn more about the owner and the company before we would feel confident putting forth a settlement agreement figure.”
Although the insurer’s attorney had determined a settlement amount of $X, based on the information available at that point, he decided that it was in the best interest of his client (and their customer Midco) that a further investigation be carried out. He needed to gain a full and trustworthy understanding of Blue Line’s real assets, along with those of the owner. And he wanted to be sure – despite assurances otherwise – that there wasn’t another insurance policy in place covering the warehouse on the date of the fire.
Given the fact there was a time consideration, as well as both cost and manpower issues, Andrews decided he would need to identify and enlist the services of a reputable investigative firm capable of delivering comprehensive asset-related intelligence quickly and affordably.
An Internet search was carried out seeking investigative firms with practical experience conducting comprehensive asset-discovery investigations on behalf of attorneys and other legal professionals. Andrews liked the fact that PBAcheck was attorney owned, so he contacted the company.
After speaking with a member of the firm, he decided to enlist PBAcheck to conduct an investigation and deliver a comprehensive business search report focusing on assets, insurance on the incident date, and business operating status. “I decided to use PBAcheck because of their transparent costs and the fact they had engaged in this type of investigation on many occasions previously,” notes Andrews. “That experience, combined with the fact they are an attorney-owned firm, gave me the confidence that they would be able to deliver what I needed to move forward, no matter how hard to obtain that information might prove.”
Upon conducting their investigation, PBA was able to discover numerous non-disclosed assets under the defendant’s name, as well as a previously unreported insurance policy in place at the time of the fire. And they were able to uncover additional details regarding the status of the business and timing that cast a suspicious light on the entire incident.
Empowered with the intelligence provided in the PBAcheck report, Andrews determined the plaintiff would be willing to pay a much higher amount than his original settlement offer, once he let them know that what had been discovered was significantly different than that previously disclosed. Ultimately, the defendant settled for 2$X the original settlement figure.
“To say the PBA report helped and more than paid for itself is a huge understatement,” offers Andrews. “They provided comprehensive information that went well beyond what we hoped and expected to obtain. I was able to fully leverage the information and secure a much higher settlement on behalf of my client. I am more than satisfied and anticipate using PBA again in the future.”