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Supreme Court rules 'actual damages' are just pecuniary losses under Privacy Act

Matthew Malamud

Actual damages for Privacy Act violations are limited to financial losses, a divided Supreme Court has ruled, reversing a Ninth Circuit decision. The act allows lawsuits against government agencies for “actual damages” over the intentional or willful mishandling of confidential information. Raymond Cardozo of San Francisco, counsel of record for the plaintiff, suggested that the decision brings into focus the philosophy of the Court’s conservative wing toward the tort system and how damages are awarded.

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