Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 6. Interception of Wire, Electronic or Oral Communications

§ 19.2-69. Civil action for unlawful interception, disclosure, or use.

Any person whose wire, electronic, or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed, or used in violation of this chapter shall (i) 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 (ii) be entitled to recover from any such person:

1. Actual damages but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $400 a day for each day of violation or $4,000, whichever is higher, provided that liquidated damages shall be computed at the rate of $800 a day for each day of violation or $8,000, whichever is higher, if the wire, electronic, or oral communication intercepted, disclosed, or used is between (i) persons married to each other; (ii) an attorney and client; (iii) a licensed practitioner of the healing arts and patient; (iv) a licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, or licensed marriage and family therapist and client; or (v) a clergy member and person seeking spiritual counsel or advice;

2. Punitive damages; and

3. A reasonable attorney 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.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.9; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1988, c. 889; 2010, c. 343; 2015, c. 672; 2020, c. 900.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.