The Georgia Supreme Court recently held that the Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act (“GCSPA”) does not authorize an award of punitive damages. The GCSPA is a criminal statute that also allows for civil remedies for computer theft, computer trespass and other computer related misconduct.
In Lyman v. Cellchem International, Inc., 2017 WL 279514 (2017), the Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the GSCPA authorizes an award of punitive damages. The Supreme Court found that it had, holding that the types of damages recoverable under the GCSPA are compensatory in nature and there is not any mention of punitive damages among the types of damages that may be recovered under the statute. Therefore, the Court found, the legislature did not intend for punitive damages to be among the type of damages that may be recovered under the GCSPA.