LG Krefeld - 2 O 448/20

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LG Krefeld - 2 O 448/20
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Court: LG Krefeld (Germany)
Jurisdiction: Germany
Relevant Law: Article 15(1) GDPR
§ 254 ZPO
Decided: 06.10.2021
Published: 06.10.2021
Parties:
National Case Number/Name: 2 O 448/20
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:DE:LGKR:2021:1006.2O448.20.00
Appeal from:
Appeal to:
Original Language(s): German
Original Source: Justiz-Online NRW (in German)
Initial Contributor: Florian Wuttke

The Regional Court of Krefeld rejected a data subject's access request to obtain information on the reasoning behind adjustments made to their health insurance premiums, as the data subject pursued an interest outside of data protection.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

The controller is a health insurance company. The data subject entered into a contract for private healthcare insurance with the controller. During the term of the contract, the controller repeatedly increased the premiums and informed the data subject accordingly. The data subject initially paid the increased premiums without reservation, but subsequently suspected unlawful premium adjustments. To obtain a refund of premiums, the data subject used a request for information in connection with a staged action pursuant to section 254 ZPO, and requested the controller to submit the supplements to the insurance policy, justifications for the adjustments, as well as further information sheets.

The controller, however, claimed that the requested documents were no longer available and refused to send them. Moreover, they also stated that the request for information was inadmissible, as the information requested by the data subject did not serve to quantify the claim. The data subject then brought the action before court. The Court had to decide, inter alia, whether the data subject's request, if interpreted as a an access request under Article 15 GDPR, was admissible from a data protection perspective.

Holding[edit | edit source]

The Court held that the access request was vexatious and declared the action partially inadmissible and unfounded. The claim was dismissed.

According to the Court, the data subject's request was unfounded under both civil law and data protection law. The Court held that the request for information could not be regarded as an access request under Article 15(1) GDPR. According to Recital 63 GDPR, the right of access under Article 15 GDPR serves data subjects to be informed about the processing of their personal data and to verify the lawfulness of the processing. By making such requests, data subjects should be empowered to assess the scope and content of the data processed in order to be able to assert further rights under the GDPR.

In the present case, the data subject was not pursuing any of these interests. It only used the right to access to pursue a possible claim for enrichment against the controller. The Court held, therefore, that this intention is so far removed from the right to access under the GDPR that it is not worthy of protection and contrary to good faith. The Court held it as especially important that the data subject had undisputedly received the documents containing the requested information at one time and only now no longer had them at its disposal.

Comment[edit | edit source]

The outcome of this case is quite surprising, since the right to access is understood to be an independent claim. In LAG Hessen 9 Sa 1431/19, the Court stated that "Nor is the applicant's action an abuse of rights. The right to information under Art. 15 GDPR is an independent claim and the facts underlying the criminal and termination-relevant allegations have been completed. In addition, his criminal defence lawyer would also be entitled to inspect the file in criminal proceedings." Hence, it is unclear why the LG Krefeld decided to interpret this right differently.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

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

& # 13;
          1 fact
The parties argue about the existence of a right to information and, based on this, about the legality of several premium adjustments in the private health and long-term care insurance maintained by the plaintiff with the defendant.
3The parties concluded a contract for private health and long-term care insurance on May 1st, 1976 under the insurance number XXX. In the following period, the defendant undisputedly increased the premiums several times in the tariffs maintained by the plaintiff with the defendant and informed the plaintiff of this by sending corresponding letters of reasoning in writing along with supplements to the insurance policy as well as information and supplementary sheets. The plaintiff subsequently paid the increased amounts to the defendant without reservation.
4The unlawfulness of the premium adjustments and a related claim for enrichment requested the defendant in advance of the proceedings with a letter of 24.03.2020 to submit the supplements to the insurance policies, the letters of reason and the information and supplementary sheets sent with them from 01/01/2012. In a reply dated March 27, 2020, the defendant refused to send the documents again.
5The claimant claims that it no longer has the supplements to the insurance policy and the supplements from the years 2011 to 2020. Despite careful research, it was not possible to determine where the documents were. The plaintiff is of the opinion that premium adjustments made in the past by the defendant could not have complied with the obligation to state reasons. In order to check the legality and to quantify a dependent enrichment claim, she needs the documents that have already been requested in advance of the litigation. You have a right to information against the defendant for several legal reasons. By way of a step action, she could first assert the right to information and, in the second step, a claim for benefits and a declaration.
6 The claiming party requests:
71) The defendant is sentenced to provide the plaintiff with information about all premium adjustments from 01.01.2011 up to lis pendens that the defendant made in the contract concluded between the parties with the insurance number xxx and to provide suitable documents for this in which contain at least the following information:
8a) the amount of the premium increases stating the respective tariffs in the insurance relationship of the plaintiff,
9b) the information provided to the plaintiff for this purpose from the cover letter and supplements to the insurance policy as well as
10c) the information provided to the plaintiff for the purpose of increasing the premium from the statement of reasons and the supplementary sheets.
112) It is determined that all increases in the health insurance tariffs of the plaintiff, which the defendant has made towards the plaintiff in the context of the existing health insurance relationship between them for insurance number XXX, and which after the provision of the information in accordance with the application to paragraph 1) are even more accurate are ineffective and the plaintiff is not obliged to pay the respective increased amount, as well as that the monthly total amount due for the future is to be reduced to an amount to be precisely quantified after the information in accordance with the claim 1) has been given.
123) The defendant is sentenced to pay the plaintiff an amount still to be quantified after the provision of the information according to the claim 1) plus interest from this amounting to five percentage points above the respective base rate since lis pending.
13 The defendant believes that the step-by-step action brought by the plaintiff is already inadmissible, since the information requested by the claimant does not serve to quantify the claim to benefits. In a reasonable investigation of the difference amounts paid, the claimant could already quantify their supposedly existing entitlement to benefits. In addition, there is a lack of a thoroughgoing basis for the right to information. The defendant also raises the objection of limitation with regard to the right to information and performance. For the start of the statute of limitations it is sufficient that the obligee knows the basics of the course of events and knows that the facts of the case offer an indication of the emergence of a claim.
14Due to the further details of the state of affairs and the dispute, reference is made to the pleadings and annexes submitted to the files.
15 Reasons for the decision
The partially inadmissible action is otherwise unfounded and must therefore be dismissed in its entirety.
17I.
In the opinion of the Chamber, the action brought by the plaintiff is inadmissible because, according to the submission by the plaintiff, it does not meet the requirements of Section 254 of the ZPO.
19The institute of the step action according to § 254 ZPO is not intended to make litigation easier for the plaintiff in general, but merely to allow an indefinite application, contrary to the provision of § 253, Paragraph 2, No. 2 of the ZPO. The inability to provide a specific indication of the performance claimed by him in the last stage of his lawsuit must be based on the circumstances about which he asks for information at the first stage, or the request for information serves to prepare the specific information to be made up in the last stage (see BGH, judgment of March 29, 2011, VI ZR 117/10). The link to § 254 ZPO, on the other hand, is not available if the information does not serve the purpose of determining the entitlement to benefits at all, but other information on legal prosecution that is not related to the determinability is to be provided to the plaintiff (see BGH, judgment of 02.03.2000, III ZR 65/99).
The stage action brought by the plaintiff does not do justice to these standards. Contrary to the defendant's view, it cannot be assumed in principle that the amount of any claim for enrichment can be inferred by inspecting the account movements. In the case of holding several tariffs, which are increased at different times, it is not possible to infer the amount of a possible enrichment claim simply by looking at the account movements. However, the claimant has not sufficiently demonstrated that it only needs the information - particularly with regard to the supplements to the insurance policy - to quantify its entitlement to benefits. In the application of November 23, 2020, the plaintiff states that they would like to have the defendant's contribution increases checked for their legality. Subsequently, the submission of the coveted documents serves for an examination prior to the numbering. The more extensive standardized statements in the brief of March 19, 2021 are limited to general considerations that have no relation to the individual case here. A presentation according to which the plaintiff maintained several tariffs with the defendant is also not evident, although at least this is undoubtedly possible for the plaintiff.
21II.
The chamber reinterprets the inadmissible step-by-step action according to Sections 133, 157 of the German Civil Code (BGB) into an objective accumulation of actions independent of the classification according to Section 260 ZPO (cf. BGH, judgment of 02.03.2000, III ZR 65/99). It cannot be assumed that the plaintiff will waive their request for information if prosecution by way of a step action is ruled out. This reinterpretation renders the action only partially admissible.
231)
The unspecified application for determination under 2. and the unquantified application for benefits under 3. are inadmissible due to a violation of the certainty requirement of Section 253, Paragraph 2, No. 2 of the German Code of Civil Procedure.
252)
26 The request for information, on the other hand, is admissible, but unfounded. The claimant has no right to information against the defendant due to the lack of a suitable basis for a claim.
27a)
28 A right to information from Section 666 i. V. m. Section 675, Paragraph 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is out of the question, as the insurance contract constitutes neither a contractual relationship nor an agency agreement due to the lack of perception of third-party financial interests (see LG Wuppertal, judgment of July 29, 2021, 4 O 409/20; LG Aurich, Judgment of June 8th, 2021, 3 O 1279/20).
29b)
A right to information based on Sections 808, 810 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is also ruled out, since the plaintiff in the present case does not assert a right of inspection, but a right to information. In addition, the defendant's digitized documents are not documents due to the lack of embodiment of the explanation of ideas (see LG Wuppertal, op. Cit.).
31c)
In addition, a right to information does not follow from Section 3 (4) VVG, because according to this provision the policyholder can only request copies of his own declarations. This does not include declarations by the insurer (see Armbrüster in MüKo VVG, 2nd edition 2016, § 3 marginal number 51).
33d)
Likewise, a claim does not follow from Section 3 (3) VVG, since the defendant does not request a replacement copy of an insurance policy, but rather comprehensive information on all premium adjustments in the past. If the plaintiff's request has been properly assessed, it also does not request the replacement of the current insurance policy as provided for in Section 3 (3) VVG as proof of insurance coverage, but rather the supplements to the insurance policy that have been made after the premium adjustments and have since been superseded. Contrary to the view of the plaintiff, this is not a "minus" to the claim content of Section 3 (3) VVG, but an "Aliud" (cf. LG Deggendorf, judgment of May 27, 2021, 32 O 830/20) .
35e)
36 A right to information also does not follow from Section 15 (1) GDPR.
According to the highest court rulings, the correspondence between the policyholder and the insurance company can be considered as the subject of the right to information (see BGH, judgment of June 15, 2021, VI ZR 576/19).
38 However, the Chamber considers the assertion of a claim to information based on Section 15 (1) GDPR to be unlawful, as the assertion is based on considerations that are entirely unrelated to the regulation (see also LG Wuppertal, op. Cit.). According to recital 63 GDPR, the right to information from Art. 15 GDPR enables the data subject to be aware of the processing of his personal data and to be able to check its legality. Art. 15 GDPR is intended to enable the legality of data processing operations to be checked. The person concerned should be able to assess the scope and content of the stored data. The information is also used to enable the data subject to exercise his or her other rights under the General Data Protection Regulation, in particular the right to correction under Art. 16 GDPR, deletion under Art. 17 GDPR and restriction of processing under Art. 17 GDPR ( see OLG Cologne, decision of 03.09.2019, 20 W 10/18). The plaintiff is not pursuing any of the interests mentioned in recital 63 GDPR, not even as a reflex. From the presentation and the procedural approach of the plaintiff it follows that the claim to information is ultimately only intended to pursue any existing claim for enrichment against the defendant after checking the legality of the review of the contribution. A request that is so far removed from the regulatory content of a legal basis is not worthy of protection and presents itself as being in breach of trust. This is particularly against the background that the claimant undisputedly originally received the documents containing the requested information once and only now has more about it (see LG Wuppertal, loc. cit.).
39f)
40 Finally, a right to information from Section 242 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is also out of the question. The exceptional character of a claim from the general clause means that such a claim should not be accepted in order to make it easier for the plaintiff to conduct a legal dispute (see LG Deggendorf, op. Cit.).
41 In the present case, the plaintiff does not deny that it received the documents now requested with the action in the course of the premium increases. Furthermore, there is no explanation as to why the documents are no longer available to her. The claimant merely submits that the documents can no longer be found. For the Chamber, it is not clear that there is a lack of knowledge through no fault of its own. It is generally to be expected that important personal contract documents will not be thrown away. Insofar as the plaintiff has not taken sufficient care of the organization of its documents, the Chamber is convinced that this does not justify accepting a claim to information based on the general clause only as an exception.
42III.
43 The secondary decisions follow from §§ 91 Paragraph 1, 709 S. 1, S. 2 ZPO.
44 The amount in dispute is set at a total of 16,000.00 EUR. The determination is based on §§ 48 Abs. 1 GKG, 3 ZPO. & # 13;