2006 Code of Virginia § 59.1-201 - Civil investigative orders
59.1-201. Civil investigative orders.
A. Whenever the attorney for the Commonwealth or the attorney for a county,city, or town has reasonable cause to believe that any person has engaged in,or is engaging in, or is about to engage in, any violation of 59.1-200, theattorney for the Commonwealth or the attorney for a county, city, or town if,after making a good faith effort to obtain such information, is unable toobtain the data and information necessary to determine whether such violationhas occurred, or that it is impractical for him to do so, he may apply to thecircuit court within whose jurisdiction the person having informationresides, or has its principal place of business, for an investigative orderrequiring such person to furnish to the attorney for the Commonwealth orattorney for a county, city, or town such data and information as is relevantto the subject matter of the investigation.
B. The circuit courts are empowered to issue investigative orders,authorizing discovery by the same methods and procedures as set forth forcivil actions in the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, in connectionwith investigations of violations of 59.1-200 by the attorney for theCommonwealth or the attorney for a county, city, or town. An application foran investigative order shall identify:
1. The specific act or practice alleged to be in violation of 59.1-200;
2. The grounds which shall demonstrate reasonable cause to believe that aviolation of 59.1-200 may have occurred, may be occurring or may be aboutto occur;
3. The category or class of data or information requested in theinvestigative order; and
4. The reasons why the attorney for the Commonwealth or attorney for acounty, city, or town is unable to obtain such data and information, or thereason why it is impractical to do so, without a court order.
C. Within twenty-one days after the service upon a person of an investigativeorder, or at any time before the return date specified in such order,whichever is later, such person may file a motion to modify or set aside suchinvestigative order or to seek a protective order as provided by the Rules ofthe Supreme Court of Virginia. Such motion shall specify the grounds formodifying or setting aside the order, and may be based upon the failure ofthe application or the order to comply with the requirements of this section,or upon any constitutional or other legal basis or privilege of such person.
D. Where the information requested by an investigative order may be derivedor ascertained from the business records of the person upon whom the order isserved, or from an examination, audit or inspection of such business records,or from a compilation, abstract or summary thereof, and the burden ofderiving or ascertaining the information is substantially the same for theattorney for the Commonwealth or attorney for a county, city, or town as forthe person from whom such information is requested, it shall be sufficientfor that person to specify the records from which the requested informationmay be derived or ascertained, and to afford the attorney for theCommonwealth or attorney for the county, city, or town reasonable opportunityto examine, audit or inspect such records and to make copies, compilations,abstracts or summaries thereof.
E. It shall be the duty of the attorney for the Commonwealth or attorney fora county, city, or town, his assistants, employees and agents, to maintainthe secrecy of all evidence, documents, data and information obtained throughthe use of investigative orders or obtained as a result of the voluntary actof the person under investigation and it shall be unlawful for any personparticipating in such investigations to disclose to any other person notparticipating in such investigation any information so obtained. Any personviolating this subsection shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and shallbe punished in accordance with 18.2-11. Notwithstanding the foregoing, thissection shall not preclude the presentation and disclosure of any informationobtained pursuant to this section in any suit or action in any court of thisCommonwealth wherein it is alleged that a violation of 59.1-200 hasoccurred, is occurring or may occur, nor shall this section prevent thedisclosure of any such information by the attorney for the Commonwealth orattorney for a county, city, or town to any federal or state law-enforcementauthority that has restrictions governing confidentiality and the use of suchinformation similar to those contained in this subsection; however, suchdisclosures may only be made as to information obtained after July 1, 1979.
F. Upon the failure of a person without lawful excuse to obey aninvestigative order under this section, the attorney for the Commonwealth orattorney for the county, city, or town may initiate contempt proceedings inthe circuit court that issued the order to hold such person in contempt.
G. No information, facts or data obtained through an investigative ordershall be admissible in any civil or criminal proceeding other than for theenforcement of this chapter and the remedies provided herein.
(1977, c. 635; 1979, c. 493; 1982, c. 13; 1987, c. 464; 1995, c. 703.)
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