I noticed a report in ITWeb yesterday that Verizon’s Rivonia offices were sealed yesterday while a civil search and seizure order was executed on the premises and the staff in the office at the time. According to ITWeb:
[ Johannesburg, 31 August 2006 ] – Verizon Business’s Gallo Manor offices were sealed this morning, and all employees have been locked in, following a court search and seizure order.
“An Anton Piller order has been served on our clients by Dimension Data, trading through Internet Solutions, under the terms of which a search and seizure order has been granted by the court in order to preserve evidence,??? says Sue Hayes, attorney at Cliffe Dekker Incorporated, representing Verizon.
An Anton Piller court order provides for the right to search premises and seize evidence without prior warning. This is used to prevent the destruction of incriminating evidence, particularly in cases of alleged trademark, copyright or patent infringements.
“No staff are permitted to leave until the collection of evidence has been done – this should be by end of business today,??? adds Hayes.
Anton Piller orders are often used in unlawful competition proceedings in an effort to preserve evidence to be used in further proceedings. The power of such an order is derived from the manner in which is obtained. The party requiring such an order approaches a judge in chambers without notice to the other party (both aspects are highly unusual) and if that party satisfies the judge that the order is warranted, the party will be given the go ahead to effectively raid the other party by surprise and search for and seize a specified list of items.
The order can be very effective and at the same time is not to be used lightly. What we will see are further proceedings between Dimension Data and Verizon soon.
By the way, the order takes its name from an English case which effectively gave rise to this sort of order in South Africa.