If your company has received a Civil Investigative Demand, or CID, you could have a very short period of time to produce the documents and other information that they desire, let alone to formulate a plan of action within your company in what could either protect your business or lead to its complete demise. It can be a hectic time, but if you know the steps you should take, you can do them quickly to make sure you are protected.
Contact Your Lawyer
If there was ever a time to have a lawyer for your business, this is it. A good business attorney should be well-versed with CID and will help you understand the scope of the investigation and decipher the occasionally complicated requests.
However, usually what attorneys like the Villaume & Schiek will do is give you some ease of mind or at very least fill you in on what to expect. They will be able to let you know if your business is a regulator’s target or if you are just a person of interest against their true target.
You should bring your attorney in as soon as possible to establish attorney-client privilege for any internal communications relating to the company’s response. However, this will not shield the company against the production of documents and information that existed before the CID was issued.
Halt Certain Procedures
Receiving a CID doesn’t mean you need to grind your business to a halt until it is all over, but it does mean you need to put a halt on certain procedures until it is over. During the investigation, it is time to stop all document shredding. Naturally, if investigators walk in and see some intern riding the shredder, it doesn’t exactly look great. Suspend any shredding activity until the investigation is over.
You will also want to contact your tech people and tell them to put a hold on any programs that may delete, archive, or otherwise modify any documents, even if they don’t seem like they would be pertinent to the investigation. Your tech team should also be able to go over how to retrieve the requested documents in a timely and accurate fashion.
Gather the Documents
The time frame of a CID can be particularly strict, likely as an effort to not give companies too long to modify or destroy documents. However, if you cannot produce all of the documents in the time frame, you need to have your lawyer contact the Minnesota Attorney General’s office to negotiate a resolution. A good compromise is to get as much as you can initially, then suggest a rolling production to get the documents to them as soon as you can.
Be sure to give your attorney as many specifics as you can as to the challenges and costs of getting the documents that are difficult to produce. If you do not make the effort to meaningfully engage, you will find that investigators will come down much harder on you if you can’t comply.
Of course, if you choose to challenge the agency as to the scope of the investigation, your attorney will also make you aware that if you challenge the investigation, it will publicize the investigation of your company on the public record.
However, regardless of if you file a petition to modify or set aside the CID, you will still need to produce those documents at some point. Modifying the time needed will give you more time to do that, and it should not be wasted. You should take action to form a response team in order to make sure that those documents are in order in a timely fashion with both in-house and your legal representatives.