LG Ravensburg - 1 S 27/22
|LG Ravensburg - 1 S 27/22|
|Court:||LG Ravensburg (Germany)|
|Relevant Law:||Article 82(1) GDPR|
|National Case Number/Name:||1 S 27/22|
|European Case Law Identifier:|
|Appeal to:||Pending appeal|
|Original Source:||OpenJur (in German)|
|Initial Contributor:||Sainey Belle|
The Regional Court of Ravensburg made a reference for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU. It asked whether the concept of non-material damage includes short-term loss of control over one's data or whether it requires that the data subject suffers a noticeable disadvantage and an objectively determinable impairment of their interests.
English Summary[edit | edit source]
Facts[edit | edit source]
The controller published a judgement produced by a local court which included the full names and addresses of the data subjects. It also published an agenda of a municipal council meeting which contained the names of the data subjects several times. Both documents were made available on the controller's homepage.
Holding[edit | edit source]
The Court was of the opinion that the controller violated Article 5(1)(a) GDPR by publishing the personal data online.
In considering whether the data subjects should consequently be entitled to compensation under Article 82(1) GDPR, the Court expressed its opinion that the mere loss of control over one's data does not constitute non-material damage. The Court reasoned that the concept of non-material damage should require that a certain threshold of inconvenience is crossed. It therefore deemed that not every unlawful processing of personal data should lead to a claim under Article 82(1) GDPR.
The Court stayed the proceedings and requested a preliminary ruling by the CJEU on whether the concept of non-material damage requires that the data subject suffers a noticeable disadvantage and an objectively determinable impairment of their interests or whether a mere short-term loss of control over their data suffices.
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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.
1. Pursuant to Article 267 TFEU, the Court of Justice of the European Union is requested to give a preliminary ruling on the following question: Is the concept of immaterial damage in Article 82 (1) GDPR to be interpreted in such a way that the assumption of immaterial damage requires a noticeable disadvantage and an objectively comprehensible impairment of personal interests or is the mere short-term loss of the data subject over the sovereignty of his data due to the publication sufficient for this personal data on the Internet for a period of a few days, which remained without any noticeable or disadvantageous consequences for the person concerned? 2. The appeal procedure is suspended pending the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the reference for a preliminary ruling. reasons The request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 82 (1) GDPR. The request for a preliminary ruling is made in the context of a dispute between the plaintiffs and the defendant. Among other things, the plaintiffs are suing the defendant for payment of damages for the violation of the GDPR. On June 19, 2020, the defendant had published an agenda for a municipal council meeting on the Internet without the consent of the plaintiffs, in which the names of the plaintiffs were mentioned several times, and published a judgment announced on March 10, 2020 by the Sigmaringen Administrative Court, in the headline of which the plaintiffs were not redacted First and last name and their address were listed. These documents could be viewed on the defendant's homepage until June 22, 2020. Article 82 para. 1 GDPR reads: "Any person who has suffered material or non-material damage as a result of a breach of this regulation is entitled to compensation from the controller or from the processor". Recital no. 146 sentence 3 and sentence 6 of the GDPR has the following wording in extracts: "The concept of damage should be interpreted broadly in the light of the case-law of the Court of Justice in a way that is fully consistent with the objectives of this Regulation. (...). The persons concerned should be entitled to full and effective compensation for the damage suffered receive". The Chamber assumes that the defendant violated Article 5 Paragraph 1 a GDPR by publishing the personal data of the plaintiffs on the Internet. The Chamber therefore has to decide whether the plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. The Chamber tends to assume that the mere loss of data sovereignty is not sufficient in the present case to justify immaterial damage to the plaintiffs under Article 82 (1) GDPR. The Chamber tends to assume that for the affirmation of immaterial damage, a de minimis limit must be exceeded, which would not be exceeded in the case of a merely short-term loss of data sovereignty that did not cause any noticeable disadvantages for the persons concerned. The outcome of the dispute therefore depends on the question referred. There is broad agreement in the literature and case law that German case law, which awards immaterial damages for violations of personal rights only in the event of a serious violation, cannot be used to interpret Article 82 (1) GDPR (Kuhling/Buchner/Bergt, GDPR, 3rd edition, Article 82 paragraph 17 ff; Wolff/Brink/Quaas; BeckOK, data protection law, Article 82 GDPR paragraph 31 f; Gola/Piltz, General Data Protection Regulation, 2nd edition, Article 82 GDPR, paragraph 12 f; Spittka, GRUR-Prax 2019, 475; LG Darmstadt, ZE 2020, 642; LG Frankfurt, ZE 2020, 639; restrictively Wytibul, NJW 2019, 3265). In an earlier appeal (Az. 1 S 108/20), the chamber took the view that not every breach of the GDPR, in particular not every inadmissible processing of personal data, automatically leads to a claim for immaterial damages. According to Article 82 (1) GDPR, compensation for pain and suffering should not be granted for every minor violation without serious impairment or only individually perceived inconveniences. Rather, a noticeable disadvantage must have arisen and there must be an objectively comprehensible impairment of personal interests. If a court, as in the present case, wants to dismiss an action as a result of the denial of (immaterial) damage because it assumes the existence of a so-called "de minimis threshold" which must be exceeded for a claim for payment of compensation for pain and suffering, it is a matter of independent interpretation of the concept of damage, but has to submit the question of how the concept of damage in Article 82 (1) GDPR is to be interpreted to the ECJ (BVerfG, decision of January 14, 2021 - 1 BvR 2853/19 = NJW 2021, 1005). The appeal proceedings are suspended until the ECJ has decided on the question referred.