Case of the Week: Federal Constitutional Court Allows Search of Jones Day’s Offices in Volkswagen Case

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BundesverfassungsgerichtA little under a year ago, we reported that the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) had issued an injunction that stopped the Munich Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft München) to look into and use the documents it seized at the Munich offices of law firm Jones Day. A quick recap of the facts:

Jones Day has acted as counsel to Volkswagen in the diesel emissions matter since September 2015. It carried out an internal investigation, interviewing more than 700 Volkswagen staff, primarily in the context of criminal proceedings against Volkswagen in the United States. In March 2017, the Public Prosecution Office obtained a seizure order for the Jones Day offices in Munich and secured extensive documentation that stemmed from the internal investigation.

In July 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court ordered the Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft) München not to make use of the documents it seized and to have the documents put in custody with the Local Court (Amtsgericht) München, while the Federal Constitutional Court was considering the constitutional complaints (Verfassungsbeschwerden) filed by Volkswagen, Jones Day, and individual Jones Day lawyers. Today, shortly before the expiry of the second extension period, the court has dismissed all constitutional complaints.

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Case of the Week: Federal Constitutional Court Issues Interim Order in Jones Day/Volkswagen Case

BundesverfassungsgerichtThis Case of the Week is hot off the press – the case originally scheduled for today will have to wait: Today, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) announced that it had issued a rare interim order in support of a constitutional challenge (Verfassungsbeschwerde) of the law firm Jones Day against a court order that allowed the seizure of potentially privileged documents from Jones Day’s Munich Offices. Continue reading

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Case of the Week: No English Translation Required for Service of German Proceedings on Facebook in Ireland

Le_palais_de_justice_de_Littenstrasse_(Berlin)_(6303550695)This case of the week deals with the question if and when a translation is required if service of proceedings is effected abroad. It arose in an action brought by a German Facebook user against Facebook Ireland, the Facebook entity through which Facebook apparently conducts its business in mainland Europe. As always in matters of service, we are not really concerned with the underlying facts, but it appears that Facebook blocked the user’s account, and the user wanted to have this measure removed. Initial correspondence by email led to nothing. Facebook Ireland refused to de-block the account with an email; an email, it must be noted, written in German. The user then issued proceedings in the Local Court (Amtsgericht) Berlin-Mitte, filing a statement of claim in German. No translation was ordered, and all the papers were served on Facebook in Ireland in German only. Facebook challenged the validity of Service. Continue reading

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Frankfurt vs London – Brexit: An Opportunity for Frankfurt to Become a New Hub of Litigation in Europe?

Eintracht_Frankfurt_Logo_svgEintracht Frankfurt has had a great run in the first half of the current Bundesliga season, eying a spot in next season’s Europa League or, behold, even a Champions League slot. So matches between Frankfurt and one of the London teams appeared a real possibility. More recently, Eintracht’s losing streak of five straight matches has cast some doubt over these ambitions, even though the team just about manage to hold on to a Europa League Slot for now. But of course, there’s the Brexit-induced battle between London and Frankfurt for the lead role in the European financial services sector that will go ahead in any event. Continue reading

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