Judicial Review of Service under the Hague Service Convention

German defendants in foreign litigation can ask the German courts to review a request for service of process under the Hague Service Convention originating from a US court for compliance with the Convention. There are references to this procedure in several US cases, such as In re South African Apartheid Litig., 643 F. Supp. 2d 423, 437 (S.D.N.Y. 2007) or Bauman v. DaimlerChrysler AG, 2005 WL 3157472, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2005) and the question how that mechanism works comes up time and time again in discussions with US colleagues. This post describes the procedure and some recent cases that illustrate the approach of the German courts to – mainly US – service requests. Continue reading

Art Law: Auction House Liable in Sale of Fake Expressionist Painting

Last year, Wolfgang Beltracchi had been making headlines as one of the most, shall I say, “successful” counterfeiters in recent art history, when criminal proceedings were brought against him. Beltracchi had specialized in forging German expressionist painters. He managed to invent a completely fictitious early 20th century art collection, the Werner Jägers collection. His works of art thus gained a first class pedigree, and were sold through renowned auction houses such as Christie’s in London or Lempertz in Cologne.  In the criminal proceedings against him and his helpers, it became known that the turn-over Beltracchi’s art scam had generated was in the tens of millions of Euros. The buyer of a fake painting brought an action against the Lempertz auction house for damages. In a judgment issued today, the District Court (Landgericht) Cologne held Lempertz liable and ordered it to hold the buyer harmless for the purchase price in the order of EUR 2.9 million. Continue reading

ECJ on Cross-Border B2C Contracts: Consumers Can Sue At Home Under Contacts Concluded Abroad

The European Court of Justice has clarified an important issue under the Brussels I Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters). In a judgment dated September 6, 2012 (C-190/11 – Mühlleitner), the court held that a consumer can sue a business counter party in the consumer’s home courts, even if the consumer travelled into the jurisdiction of the business counter party to conclude the transaction. In the words of the Court, “Article 15(1)(c) of the Brussels I Regulation must be interpreted as not requiring the contract between the consumer and the trader to be concluded at a distance.”

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Hot Topics in Legal Policy: EU Commissioner for Justice Reding on Class Actions in Europe – 2012 German Jurists Forums (Deutscher Juristentag)

Viviane Reding, the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice, spoke about “Europe, the Law, and the German legal profession: a comment from Luxembourg” at last week’s German Jurists Forum in Munich (see my earlier post on the Forum). The focus of her speech was on the German legal debate on the Euro rescue plans – that’s somewhat off topic in this blog, as important as it is, and we leave it to verfassungsblog.de and others to comment upon. But Viviane Reding devoted a couple of sentences to more mundane issues, such as the plans for group or class actions in the European Union. Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading