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CITRON v. CITRON

May 25, 1982;

Casper CITRON, Steven Casper Henry Citron and Alisande Citron Slivka, Plaintiffs,
v.
Fiona Graham CITRON, M.D., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KNAPP

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This is an action for unlawful interception of telephone communications in violation of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (the "Act"). 18 U.S.C. ยงยง 2510-20. Following trial on the merits, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint. We now grant that motion.

 The Statute

 The relevant statutory provisions are found in Sections 2511 and 2520 of the Act. Insofar as here applicable, Section 2511 makes guilty of a felony (except as otherwise specifically provided) any person who:

 
"willfully intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire or oral communication...." (Emphasis supplied.)

 The Section also provides that violators shall be fined not more than $ 10,000 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.

 Section 2520 provides for the imposition of several forms of civil sanctions on those who violate the statute: *fn1" compensation for actual damages suffered by any victim of a violation, or-if higher-"liquidated" damages of $ 100 a day, but not less than $ 1,000; punitive damages; and counsel fees. The Section thus states in pertinent part:

 
"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 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." (Emphasis supplied.)

 Section 2520 also contains a "good faith" defense, which provides:

 
"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 ...

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