LG Gießen - 5 O 457/20

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LG Gießen - 5 O 457/20
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Court: LG Gießen (Germany)
Jurisdiction: Germany
Relevant Law: Article 6(1)(f) GDPR
Article 17(1)(a) GDPR
Article 17(1)(c) GDPR
Article 17(1)(d) GDPR
Decided: 04.10.2021
National Case Number/Name: 5 O 457/20
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:DE:LGGIESS:2021:1004.5O457.20.00
Appeal from: LG Gießen
3 O 196/20
Appeal to:
Original Language(s): German
Original Source: Bürgerservice Hessenrecht (in German)
Initial Contributor: n/a

A credit reference agency added a negative marker on discharge of residual debt to the claimant’s credit report. The claimant requested to remove the marker under Article 17(1) GDPR. The claim was dismissed. The credit agency has an overriding legitimate interest and the processing is lawful.

English Summary


The defendant is a credit reference agency. The claimant is a private person over whose assets insolvency proceedings were opened. In the course of the insolvency proceedings the claimant was granted a discharge of residual debt, which the defendant added to the claimant’s credit report as a negative marker. The claimant unsuccessfully requested the defendant to remove the marker and the subsequent applications for an injunction were rejected for lack of merit at trial.

The claimant argued that the negative marker was to his detriment as it restricted his ability to participate in economic life. In particular, he could not obtain overdrafts, finance property or car, or place internet orders on account. The processing of the data on the discharge of residual debt by the defendant was unlawful. The claimant requested, inter alia, that the defendant be ordered to remove the marker. The defendant instead justified the processing with the necessity to provide the defendant's contract partners with facts to assess the claimant's creditworthiness. Deleting the entry would deceive potential lenders and possibly induce them to grant a loan without having sufficient information on the claimant's actual creditworthiness.

The appellate court had to decide whether the claimant was entitled to have the negative marker deleted and whether he was entitled to injunctive relief against the defendant’s data processing in connection with the discharge of residual debt.


The appellate court dismissed the claim. The requirements for a claim for deletion pursuant to Article 17(1) GDPR are not met. The processing is lawful pursuant to Article 6(1)(f) GDPR.

Pursuant to Article 17 (1) GDPR, data subjects have the right to demand from the controller that personal data concerning them be deleted without undue delay, provided that one of the grounds specified in Article 17 (1) (a) to (f) GDPR apply. This is in particular the case if there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing, the purpose of processing no longer exists or the processing of personal data was unlawful.

The appellate court pointed out that according to the German Federal Court of Justice, a legitimate interest exists if credit lenders transfer the management of their interests to credit reference agencies for reasons of security and rationalisation. Criteria for the risk-free processing of credit awards also include insolvency proceedings and their outcomes. Thus, the notification of the granting of residual debt discharge is in the interest of the defendant. Granting a residual debt discharge does not aim at enabling debtors to participate in economic life as if insolvency proceedings had not existed at all. The claimant cannot demand to be put on an equal footing with a person who was never affected by insolvency. Such interests are not protected and therefore cannot outweigh the interest of future business partners in checking the creditworthiness of their debtors. In conclusion, the claimant’s overriding legitimate interest in the removal of the marker is not apparent.

The processing of the residual debt discharge entry by the defendant is lawful. Thus, a claim for deletion under Article 17(1)(d) GDPR has no merits.

The court of appeal held, that the negative marker is stored by the defendant in order to be able to provide its contract partners with information about it. This purpose persists and could not be pursued without the entry. A claim for deletion pursuant to Article 17(1)(a) GDPR has no merits either.

A claim for deletion also does not follow from Article 17(1)(c) GDPR. The claimant has neither objected nor is the claimant's particular personal situation apparent.


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English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the German original. Please refer to the German original for more details.

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