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Civil suits

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  • Alabama

    The statute does not authorize civil lawsuits against violators.

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  • Alaska

    The statute does not authorize civil lawsuits against violators.

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  • Arizona

    Any person whose communications are illegally intercepted in violation of the state’s eavesdropping laws may bring a civil suit within one year of the discovery of the violation to recover for damages, attorney fees, and any profits made by the person disclosing the information. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-731. In some cases, the court can also assess punitive damages.

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  • Arkansas

    The statute does not authorize civil lawsuits against violators.

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  • California

    Under the state’s eavesdropping and wiretap laws, anyone injured by an illegally recorded or disclosed in-person or telephone conversation can recover civil damages of $5,000 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater. Cal. Penal Code § 637.2. The court may also impose injunctions preventing the use of illegally obtained information. Cal. Penal Code § 637.2(b).

    The anti-paparazzi law provides for fines of between $5,000 and $50,000, three times the amount of actual or special damages, and punitive damages for committing an assault or trespassing to capture a visual image or sound recording. Cal. Civil Code § 1708.8(d).

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  • Colorado

    Colorado does not generally authorize civil lawsuits against violators, except under the state’s law providing a right to record police officers without consent. Under that law, if an officer interferes with the right to record, seizes or destroys a recording or recording device in violation of this law, or retaliates against an individual for recording an incident involving a police officer, the individual may file a complaint and, if denied, a civil lawsuit against the law enforcement agency. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-128. The individual is entitled to $500 for each damaged or destroyed recording, the replacement value of the device, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages. Id.

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  • Connecticut

    Recording a telephone conversation without the consent of all parties subjects an individual to liability for damages, as well as litigation costs and attorney’s fees. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-570d(c).

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  • Delaware

    Any person whose communications are illegally recorded, intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s wiretapping law may bring a suit to recover for both actual and punitive damages of not less than $1,000, as well as attorney’s fees and litigation costs. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 2409(a). However, good faith reliance on a court order or legislative authorization constitutes a complete defense.

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  • District of Columbia

    Anyone who illegally records, uses or discloses the contents of a communication is also subject to civil liability for the greater of actual damages, damages in the amount of $100 per day for each day of the violation, or $1,000, along with punitive damages, attorney’s fees and litigation costs. D.C. Code § 23-554.

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  • Florida

    Those whose communications have been illegally intercepted or disclosed may recover actual damages of up to $1,000 for each day of the violation, along with punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation costs. Fla. Stat. § 934.10. Either the parties alleging the violation must be Florida residents or the words of any intercepted private conversation must be spoken in Florida. See Cohen Brothers, LLC v. ME Corp., S.A., 872 So.2d 321, 324 (Fla. 3d Dist. Ct. App. 2004).

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  • Georgia

    While the eavesdropping and wiretapping laws do not explicitly list potential civil penalties, courts have held that those whose conversations were recorded without at least one party’s consent in violation of the laws can bring civil lawsuits against the violators. Kemeness v. Worth Cty., No. 1:19-CV-120 (LAG), 2020 WL 2764020, at *7 (M.D. Ga. Mar. 18, 2020).

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  • Hawaii

    Anyone whose communications have been illegally intercepted, recorded, disclosed or used may bring a civil suit to recover actual damages and any profits made by the violator or $10,000, whichever is greater, along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-48.

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  • Idaho

    Anyone whose communications have been illegally intercepted, disclosed or used may recover actual and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees and litigation costs. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6709.

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  • Illinois

    Participants to any communication intercepted or recorded in violation of the state’s eavesdropping statute have civil remedies that include injunctive relief prohibiting any further eavesdropping, as well as actual and punitive damages against the eavesdropper. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-6.

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  • Indiana

    Civil liability for intercepting the contents of a confidential electronic communication in violation of the state’s wiretapping law may require the payment of actual damages, $100 for each day of the violation or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus punitive damages, court costs and attorney’s fees. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-33.5-5-4.

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  • Iowa

    Anyone whose confidential communications are intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s “Interception of Communications” statute may seek injunctive relief from the court and recover in a civil suit the payment of actual damages, $100 per day or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus potential punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs. Iowa Code Ann. § 808B.8.

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  • Kansas

    Anyone whose confidential oral, wire or electronic communications are intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s laws may recover in a civil suit the payment of actual damages, $100 per day or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus potential punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs. Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2518.

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  • Kentucky

    The statute does not authorize civil lawsuits against violators.

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  • Louisiana

    Anyone whose confidential communications are intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law may recover in a civil suit the payment of actual damages, $100 per day or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus potential punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1312.

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  • Maine

    Anyone whose communications have been recorded, intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the law can sue for civil damages and recover the greater of $100 a day for each day of the violation or actual damages, and also attorney’s fees and litigation costs. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 711.

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  • Maryland

    The court may award actual and punitive damages, as well as reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs, to anyone whose private communications were intercepted, recorded or disclosed in violation of the state’s Wiretap Act. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-410.

    The court may also award actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees to anyone who was surveilled in violation of the hidden camera law. Md. Crim. Law § 3-901, -902, -903.

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  • Massachusetts

    The court may award actual and punitive damages, as well as reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs, to anyone whose private communications were recorded, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 99(Q). Actual damages would be no less than $100 per day for each day of violation, or $1,000. Id.

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  • Michigan

    The court may award injunctive relief, as well as actual and punitive damages to anyone whose private communications were recorded or disclosed in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539h.

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  • Minnesota

    Anyone whose in-person, telephone or electronic communications were intercepted, recorded or disclosed in violation of the wiretapping law can sue for injunctive relief, and the defendant may have to pay three times the amount of actual damages (plus any profits the defendant made), $100 per day or $10,000, whichever is greater. Minn. Stat. § 626A.13. In addition, the court may award punitive damages, litigation costs and attorney’s fees. Id.

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  • Mississippi

    Anyone whose communications were recorded, intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s wiretapping law can seek damages through a civil suit and may recover actual damages —not less than $100 per day or $1,000, whichever is greater — plus potential punitive damages, attorney’s fees and litigation costs. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-529.

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  • Missouri

    Anyone whose telephone or other wire communication has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the wiretap law can bring a civil suit to recover the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation or $10,000, and can recover punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs as well. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 542.418.

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  • Montana

    The statute does not authorize civil lawsuits against violators.

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  • Nebraska

    Anyone whose in-person, telephone or electronic communication has been recorded, disclosed or intentionally used in violation of the law can bring a civil suit for such relief as a judge deems appropriate, and secure damages, attorney’s fees and court costs. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 86-297. Damages may be the greater of actual damages, $100 for each day of violation or $10,000. Id.

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  • Nevada

    Anyone whose in-person or telephone conversation has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the law can bring a civil suit to recover the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of the violation or $1,000, and can recover punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs as well. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.690.

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  • New Hampshire

    Anyone whose in-person or telephone conversation has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the law can bring a civil suit to recover the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of the violation or $1,000, and can recover punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs as well. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 570-A:11.

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  • New Jersey

    Anyone whose in-person, telephone or electronic communication has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the law can bring a civil suit to recover the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000, and can recover punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs as well. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:156A-24.

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  • New York

    New York’s eavesdropping law does not authorize any civil penalties. Greenfield v. Schultz, 673 N.Y.S.2d 684, 685 (N.Y. App. Div. 1998). Similarly, the hidden camera law also does not permit civil penalties.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Anyone whose in-person, telephone or electronic communication has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the law can bring a civil suit to recover the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation, or $1,000, and can recover punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs as well. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5725.

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