United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights — Federal Wiretap Act — municipal liability
Governmental units are subject to suit under the Federal Wiretap Act, but only for substantive provisions.
“To sum up, the 1986 amendment permits suit against governmental units through the addition of ‘entity’ to the statutory text. But it does so only for substantive provisions that identify an ‘entity’ as a potential violator of that provision. Any conclusion otherwise ignores at least some part of the statutory text. If ‘entity’ does not extend to government units, it adds nothing to the statute. And if we subject governmental units to suit for violations of § 2511(1), we ignore the statute’s use of ‘person’ rather than ‘person or entity.’ Our interpretation avoids both of these pitfalls, giving due weight to the addition of ‘entity’ while remaining faithful to the plain text of § 2511(1).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Lefkow, J., Flaum, J.