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You've been served! MKD director tells us how

If you’re a reluctant subject or witness to any legal action, you may duck, but it’s more difficult to hide from the process server, says Toronto-area private detective Jim Downs.

Social media has made a big difference in the ability to track people down, says Downs, co-founder and managing director of MKD International Inc., a Vaughan, Ont.-based private investigations firm.

Also, cellphone cameras make it easy to put someone under surveillance and prove they have been served with documents.

“Document serving is a very common service we provide to legal counsel,” Downs tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“There are certain companies that provide document service, but if an individual is difficult to serve — they are trying to duck and hide — quite often lawyers hire us  to a) conduct surveillance on an individual or individuals, and then b) get them so they can’t run away from being served.”

Typically, a process server would knock on a person’s door, but the subject may know what's waiting on the other side and choose not to answer, Downs says.

“So that’s when law firms will retain our services to make sure they get served. We’ll put surveillance on the subject(s) and try to get them in a position where they can’t evade being served.”

MKD is also retained to locate and serve individuals whose residence or workplace legal counsel has been unable to determine.

Downs, a former Toronto Police detective, utilizes various investigative techniques to locate individuals. 

“We use very sophisticated methods, I’ll leave it at that. The internet and social media are tools for us for sure, especially when you’re trying to find pictures of somebody," he says. "Once you have your confirmed starting point, and you’ve identified and seen the subject, you just stay with them till you reach the appropriate time to serve them.”

Privacy laws protect people within their homes, so investigators have to be creative, Downs says.

In one recent case, MKD investigators followed a target into a casino, catching him off guard.

“We captured the document service on camera. We served him, and he threw the documents on the floor, but not before we recorded him actually reading the documents," Downs says. "How well he read it who knows, but he can't say he was never served."

There are times when an individual is out of the country or does not leave a paper trail to where he or she resides, but most often the MKD gets the job done.

“We probably have a 95 per cent success rate as long as we find the individual." he says

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