(A) Any person whose wire, oral, or electronic communication is intercepted, disclosed, or used in violation of this chapter has a civil cause of action against any person or entity who intercepts, discloses, or uses, or procures any other person or entity to intercept, disclose, or use the communications and is entitled to recover from the person or entity which engaged in that violation relief as may be appropriate, including:

(1) preliminary or equitable or declaratory relief as may be appropriate;

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 17-30-135

  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Electronic communication: means any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, photooptical system, or any other device that affects intrastate, interstate, or foreign commerce, but does not include:

    (a) any wire or oral communication;

    (b) any communication made through a tone-only paging device;

    (c) any communication from an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of the movement of a person or an object; or

    (d) electronic funds transfer information stored by a financial institution in a communications system used for the electronic storage and transfer of funds. See South Carolina Code 17-30-15
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Intercept: means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device. See South Carolina Code 17-30-15
  • Investigative or law enforcement officer: means an officer of the State of South Carolina or political subdivision of the State, of the United States, or of any other state or political subdivision of the State, who is empowered by law to conduct on behalf of the government investigations of or to make arrests for offenses enumerated in this chapter or similar federal offenses. See South Carolina Code 17-30-15
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • Person: means an employee or agent of the State of South Carolina or political subdivision of the State, of the United States, or of any other state or political subdivision of the State, and any individual, partnership, association, joint stock company, trust, or corporation. See South Carolina Code 17-30-15
  • State: means any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other possession or territory of the United States. See South Carolina Code 17-30-15
  • Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.

(2) actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of five hundred dollars a day for each day of violation or twenty-five thousand dollars, whichever is greater, not to exceed the limits on liability provided in subsection (F)(3);

(3) punitive damages, except as may be prohibited in subsection (F)(4); and

(4) a reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

(B) A good faith reliance on a court order, subpoena, or a request of an agent of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division under Section 17-30-95 constitutes a complete defense to any civil, criminal, or administrative action, other than an action for preliminary or equitable or declaratory relief.

(C) A civil action under this section may not be commenced later than five years after the date upon which the claimant first has a reasonable opportunity to discover the violation, except as provided in subsection (F)(2).

(D) Any person whose wire, oral, or electronic communication is intercepted, disclosed, or used in violation of this chapter is entitled to a jury trial.

(E) An investigative or law enforcement officer or governmental entity who wilfully discloses or wilfully uses information beyond the extent permitted by law is in violation of this chapter and subject to a civil cause of action and criminal penalties as provided in this chapter.

(F)(1) Any civil cause of action for damages authorized in subsection (A) and brought against the State, an agency, a political subdivision, or a governmental entity and its employee acting within the scope of his official duty must be brought pursuant to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, Chapter 78, Title 15. For purposes of the Tort Claims Act, an action authorized in subsection (A) and brought against the State, an agency, a political subdivision, or a governmental entity and its employee acting within the scope of his official duty is a tort within the meaning of the Act.

(2) In any action authorized in subsection (A) and brought against the State, an agency, a political subdivision, or a governmental entity and its employee acting within the scope of his official duty, the provisions in the Tort Claims Act regarding the statute of limitations provided in Section 15-78-110 shall apply in lieu of subsection (C) of this section.

(3) In any action authorized in subsection (A) and brought against the State, an agency, a political subdivision, or a governmental entity and its employee acting within the scope of his official duty, the provisions in the Tort Claims Act regarding the limits on liability for damages as provided in Section 15-78-120(a) shall apply to all awards of damages under item (2) of subsection (A) of this section.

(4) In any action authorized in subsection (A) and brought against the State, an agency, a political subdivision, or a governmental entity and its employee acting within the scope of his official duty, the provisions in the Tort Claims Act prohibiting the award of punitive damages as provided in Section 15-78-120(B) shall apply in lieu of item (3) of subsection (A) of this section.

(5) For purposes of this subsection, the terms "State", "agency", "political subdivision", "governmental entity", "employee", and "scope of his official duty" have the same meanings as provided in the Tort Claims Act.