What is a Courthouse Researcher?
Courthouse or court researchers track and collect any number of documents within courthouses that are accessible as a matter of public record. They do this in a variety of ways depending on the jurisdiction and how such records are stored. Most documents pertaining to a past lawsuit can be found in the courthouse where the case originated. In Louisiana, other items, such as recorded deeds, mortgages, and marriage records, are filed with the Clerk of Court. Older records can be found in each parish’s archives building. Birth records are only available to the public 100 years after the birth of the listed individual, and death certificates are accessible 50 years after the death of the referenced person, and each would be archived.
While birth and death certificates are closed records in Louisiana, court researchers can be hired to locate any other public information that is not easily found online or by other means. While most parishes have multiple courthouses and government agencies, a professional researcher will know exactly where to go to locate any information that the client needs. Just remember that any records recovered from these government-run entities usually require certification in order to be considered viable. “Perfect copies” are those that are deemed a genuine facsimile of an initial document.
The job of searching for past documentation can be a tedious and time-consuming one. After all, the older a record may be, the more difficult it would be to track down. This is especially true if the original paperwork is damaged or lost. It can take several trips to locate the correct documents sometimes, and this can be frustrating if you are a pro se litigant that has work and family obligations or an attorney with many other cases to concentrate on.
Why Would You Need Louisiana Courthouse Research?
There may be confusion between courthouse research and legal research by some, but both disciplines are quite different, though both are invaluable in the legal field. Legal research is more about searching databases and law libraries for cases that set precedent relative to a current matter before the court. However, courthouse research is actually traveling to the courthouse personally to search for marriage records, land deeds, mortgages, liens, dissolutions of marriage, prior judgments, and civil and criminal case filings.
Such document research and retrieval can be used in a variety of ways. Sometimes prior local cases can be more of a binding precedent in a lawsuit than a like matter in another state, though it is less accessible. That said, not all cases are reported in the state reporter case reference books. That also means that they are not found in legal databases such as Lexis Nexis or Westlaw. In other words, traditional legal research won’t cut it. Tracking the original case filings in the archives allows lawyers and those representing themselves a chance to quote and cite matters that pertain to their own cases.
Another example would be tracking down the deeds to homes, buildings, and land. You can discover the chain of property ownership through the probate records, as well as recorded deeds and mortgages. This can be critical to clearing a defective title of liens or unrecorded mortgages, and it can solve any subsequent ownership disputes. Many times, financial institutions, realtors, and attorneys need copies of these records to complete a closing.
A researcher will either decide what information is needed and which paperwork is important to locate in order to answer a client’s inquiry, or the client may make a specific request for a particular document. Courthouse researchers in Louisiana may make copies or print out documents that are electronically filed. They may also simply collect the necessary information, write a quick brief, and forward it to the individual or company that hired him or her.
This is another point that should be explained. Court researchers are not staff members employed by the state working in the courthouse. They are independent contractors that work directly with the client searching for certain data.
At Baton Rouge Process Servers, we can help attorneys and laypeople search for records that are well-hidden in the depths of local courthouses and government buildings. Tell us exactly what you are looking for and Scott and his fellow researchers will know precisely where to look. We specialize in seeking out real estate documents such as easements and right-of-ways, HUD forms, deed restrictions, liens, and property descriptions, but have the ability and expertise to locate nearly any paperwork you may need. And, because our online platform streamlines document delivery, you can be sure to get the answers you need immediately.
Please note that Scott and his company do not receive commission for their role in real estate matters, so as objective third parties with no stake in the purchase of a particular property, you can be sure that what you will get are nothing more than honest facts. We only want you to make an informed decision before you make the greatest investment of your life.