Collective proceedings in form of a so-called “Sammelklage” have recently been initiated against facebook in Austria alleging a number of data protection violations (see writ). Law student Max Schrems who acts as the plaintiff in the test case brought together 25,000 claimants. He seeks injunctive relief and alleges individual damage of 500 euros. The claim is of a hybrid nature: The European provisions on data protection apply whereas the compensation claims have to be assessed according to the law applicable in California (as specified in Facebook’s terms and conditions). The case is financed by a German process financer, which – if successful – is entitled to 20 % of the proceeds. The remaining amount less the litigation costs would be distributed to the participants.
The case was closed at the first hearing before the Regional Civil Court Vienna (“Landesgericht Wien”) on 9th April which dealt with admissibility matters of the case. The judgment is expected for May.