LIPPMAN v. MITCHELL

This is the law as it read when I filed the wiretap lawsuit in 1974. This section was amended in 1986 by Public Law 99-508. To see the current language of the law, click here.

United States Code, Title 18

2520. Recovery of civil damages authorized.

Any person whose wire or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed, or used in violation of this chapter shall (1) have a civil cause of action against any person who intercepts, discloses, or uses, or procures any other person to intercept, disclose, or use such communications, and (2) be entitled to recover from any such person-

(a) actual damages but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000, whichever is higher;

(b) punitive damages; and

(c) a reasonable attorney's fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

A good faith reliance on a court order or legislative authorization shall constitute a complete defense to any civil or criminal action brought under this chapter or under any other law. (Added Pub. L. 90-351, title III. 802, June 19, 1968, 82 Stat. 223, and amended Pub. L. 91-358, title II, 211(c), July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 654.)