Facebook users can file civil law suits, in addition to data protection complains, Vienna higher court rules


On March 25, 2019, Vienna’s higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht Wien) ruled that “every citizen can not only file a complaint with the data protection authority, but also submit a lawsuit in courts.” See here.

The claims is complicated and concerns Facebook’s breach of EU privacy laws. See here for more info.

The admissibility of the lawsuit was decided upon seven times since July 2014: “The (i.) Vienna Commercial Court referred the complaint to the (ii.) Regional Court, which considered the lawsuit inadmissible for the first time” and denied any right to submit lawsuits under the GDPR. “The case then moved to the (iii.) Vienna Higher Regional Court, (iv.) the Austrian Supreme Court and the (v.) CJEU in Luxembourg and back to the (vi.) Vienna Regional Court, which found the action inadmissible a second time. Now the Higher Regional Court Vienna found the lawsuit to be admissible in the seventh decision – and only allowed for a limited appeal to the Supreme Court on a technical issue.”

Under article 79, Regulation 2016/679, GDPR, grants users the right to lodge a complaint with a Data Protection Agency, in their own member state, as well as to bring a claim before the courts of that member state.

Now the Austrian Supreme Court is to decide whether the Regional Court for Civil Matters (LGfZRS) or the Commercial Court (HG) is competent for the action.



More information on the case brought by the Irish DPA against Facebook Ireland Ltd and Mr Schrems over EU-US data transfers is available here.

More information on the case Data Protection Commissioner -v- Facebook Ireland Ltd & anor is available here.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s latest update on the case can be found here.

EPIC’s Update on the case can be found here.

Schrem’s website “Europe v Facebook” (website collecting information regarding class actions against Facebook) is available at http://www.europe-v-facebook.org….



For more information on how privacy to implement privacy policies in your business, contact Francesca Giannoni-Crystal. Thanks to Federica Romanelli.