Austrian data protection class action against Facebook – Vienna Court holds itself incompetent

On July 1, 2015,  the Vienna Regional Court (Landesgericht) rejected a class action (Datenschutz Sammelklage) complaint brought by Max Schrems, an Austrian data protection activist, against Facebook Inc. for lack of jurisdiction

The court (Landesgericht) found in first instance that it is not entitled to decide on the class action claiming that Facebook breached EU privacy laws (more information available here).

According to the class action’s website, the Court rejected competence claiming that “the claimant in the case is not a “consumer”, while at the same time finding, that his personal Facebook account is only for private use. This would mean that the claimant has to sue Facebook at its European headquarter in Dublin. The court also rejected jurisdiction as the place where the violation of the users’ right to privacy occurred”.

Basically the court agreed with Facebook, which had objected to the jurisdiction of the Vienna court, alleging that the action should be brought in Ireland (where Facebook has its European subsidiary) or in California (since Facebook, Inc. is a California corporation).

The plaintiff announced his intention to appeal (see here). The deadline for filing an appeal is two weeks. On appeal the matter will be decided by the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) – the decision of that court can be further appealed to the Austrian Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof).

More information on the class actions can be found at https://www.fbclaim…

We had reported this case here

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