Blog » CAN YOU SUE FACEBOOK IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY?
CAN YOU SUE FACEBOOK IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY?
12 February 2018
This was the basic question in a lawsuit in Austria filed by a private person against the social media giant. In this short article we explain the decision of the European Court which was published these days.
Maximilian Schrems, an Austrian privacy activist sued Facebook Ireland (“Facebook”) in Austria claiming that Facebook has breached dozens of data protection rules in relation with his own and other private persons private Facebook account. The other private persons assigned to Schrems their claims relating to those private accounts.
Facebook who has its registered seat in Ireland disputed the jurisdiction of the Austrian court. Facebook claimed that Mr. Schrems cannot rely on jurisdiction rule which allows consumers to bring claims in their home EU-country against the other party. The reason for that is that on the one hand, Mr. Schrems is using the Facebook for professional activities as he informs the public about his steps against the Facebook. On the other hand, Mr. Schrems has filed a class-action lawsuit and in Facebook’s opinion the favourable jurisdiction rule cannot be applied if one is willing to enforce assigned claims.
Before the Austrian court could jump into the details of the case he had to seek guidance of the European Court. The question was how the jurisdiction rule shall be interpreted that a consumer may bring proceedings against his contractual party in the courts of his home country if the contract was concluded for a purpose outside his profession.
2. Decision of the Court
First, the Court examined whether the fact that Mr. Schrems is informing the public about his lawsuits against the Facebook or advertises his books on the Facebook excludes him from being a consumer. The Court took into account that Mr. Schrems has a private Facebook account and also a Facebook page where the advertising activity is carried out.
The Court established that the mere fact that a private person publishes books and operates websites does not mean that his Facebook account cannot be considered as private and does not deprive him from his consumer status.
Second, the Court examined whether the specific jurisdiction rule can be applied in the case of assigned claims.
It was the view of the Court that the favourable jurisdiction rule was designed for consumer protection reasons. This kind of protection is only justifiable if the consumer is personally participating in the lawsuit. Therefore, the favourable jurisdiction rule cannot be applied in a proceeding brought by a consumer for the purpose of asserting claims assigned by other consumers.
3. Lessons learnt
All in all, as a consumer you can sue Facebook in your home EU-country even if you carried out some kind of professional activity (eg. on a separate Facebook-page) but only if you enforce your claims personally.
Hungary: Steps Towards Differentiating Between Domestic and International Procedural Public Policy
Drawing a well-defined line of demarcation between domestic and international public policy when enforcing foreign arbitral awards sends a clear pro-arbitration message from national courts in any jurisdiction. Does Hungarian case law come close to this level of sophistication? This post analyses this question in the context of procedural public policy, and it does so based on two recent appellate court decisions rendered in the context of enforcement of arbitral awards in accordance with the New York Convention.Read more »
EU ISSUED NEW GDPR STANDARD CONTRACTUAL CLAUSES – WHEN AND HOW TO USE THEM?
During summer 2021, the European Commission published two new "standard contractual clauses" on data protection regulation, which can be applied on the one hand, to the legal relationship between data controllers and data processors covered by the GDPR , and to the transfers of personal data to third countries, on the other. In this article, we answer the questions: what these SCCs regulate, how do they differ from the previous SCCs and how can your company use the new SCCs?Read more »
CAN THE NON-COMPETITION AGREEMENT BE VALID WITHOUT A PRECISE COMPENSATION IN HUNGARY?
The non-compete agreement may provide protection of the legitimate economic interests of the employer even after the termination of employment relationship. However, the Hungarian Labour Code lays down strict requirements for the agreement. In our article we analyse a recent decision of the Supreme Court about the importance of the precise determination of the compensation, so you as an employer can conclude a valid non-compete agreement.Read more »