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Woolies lawsuit: MTN ordered to disclose records

Durban -

A shopper who is suing Woolworths after falling in one of its stores was forced to make a high court application to get cellphone records from MTN which, she said, would enable her to find a vital witness to the incident.

File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi. Credit: Independent Newspapers

Andrea Lipschitz, who fell in the Cowey Road shop on November 1, 2010, said that at her request, the witness had called Lipschitz’s son.

But she said MTN had refused to give him the log of “incoming calls” for that day, saying he was not entitled to it because it was “privileged third party information”.

Lipschitz injured her knee in the incident and is suing Woolworths for medical expenses and general damages.

She claims she slipped on plastic beading, used to put prices on shelves, which had been left lying on the floor.

Woolworths is defending the claim, saying she fell on beads from her own broken necklace, but Lipschitz says the necklace broke because she fell.

In her affidavit, Lipschitz said after she fell she was approached by a woman who said she witnessed the incident and offered to help.

“I gave her my son’s cellphone number and she called him.

“My son came shortly after the call to help me.

“Neither of us recorded her details and we had no further contact with her.

“She is obviously someone who I would like to call as a witness in substantiating my claim.”

But her son’s service provider, MTN, declined to help them, even when they were issued with a subpoena.

In a letter, the acting general manager: commercial legal, Mpho Malange, said that in terms of the law a subscriber was entitled only to his or her own records.

Incoming callers had a right to confidentiality and the law allowed only for the release of those records “under compulsion under law”.

Judge Fikile Mokgohloa granted an order directing MTN to immediately supply a list reflecting the identity or the telephone numbers of the incoming calls on that day.

Lipschitz’s attorney Andrew Eastes told The Mercury that the records had been released, the witness had been traced and a statement was being taken from her.

He said the case had not yet been set down for trial.

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