Quite the song and dance. Dutch TikTok class action passes jurisdictional hurdle at first instance, cutting many a((n) appealable) corner in the process.

I reported earlier on the ongoing collective claim against TikTok here. Thank you Xandra Kramer and Eduardo Silva de Freitas for signalling and discussing the first instance jurisdictional finding. I note already that the Court [5.28] has refused interim permission to appeal on the jurisdictional finding (as in i.a. the applicable law issue in Airbus). [5.22] it also refused a preliminary reference o the CJEU even though my concise discussion below already shows that more is at play here than the court has made out. TikTok will now first have to argue the case on the merits to then (presumably) appealing both substance and jurisdictional finding.

As I flagged earlier and as Xandra and Eduardo discuss, the issue here is firstly the relationship between GDPR and Brussels Ia at the jurisdictional level: I discuss that in this paper. Against TikTok Ireland, jurisdiction is established on the basis of A80 GDPR, with no further discussion of A79 (even if A80 partially refers to A79 for the action it establishes).

In my view the court quite carelessly muddles the various concepts used in A79-80, all too easily dismisses ia CJEU Schrems, does not clearly distinguish between assignment, subrogation, mandate etc., and certainly does not correctly delineates the authority which the collective organisations might have under the GDPR: for it is not at all clear that this authority, beyond injunctive relief,  includes a (collective) claim for damages.

[5.13] the court already announces that it may not in fact have jurisdiction for all individuals who are no longer habitually resident in The Netherlands, a concession which in my view in fact goes towards undermining its own reasoning.

[5.14] ff the court then reviews A4 and 7(2) BIa, as a supplementary jurisdictional ground for the GDPR related claims and as a stand-alone ground for the non-GDPR related claims. The court’s decision to apply CJEU Wikingerhof as leading to forum delicti and not forum contractus is in my view optimistic, and surely if A7(2) is at play then the CJEU’s authority ia in Schrems is, too. Yet the court [5.17] quite happily assimilates the harmed individuals’ COMI etc. with the collective organisation.

[5.19-20] the court summarily accepts jurisdiction against the other (non-EU) TikTok entities on the basis of Dutch residual rules for related cases.

Jurisdictional issues will most definitely return upon eventual appeal.

Geert.

(Handbook of) EU Private International Law, 2nd ed. 2016, Chapter 2, Heading 2.2.8.2.5.

 

 

Suing TikTok: on GDPR and ordinary jurisdiction, as well as applicable law in the Dutch collective claim.

A short note on the claim form for the collective claim by a group of parents based in The Netherlands against TikTok Technology Limited, domiciled at Dublin, Ireland.  It engages Article 79 GDPR, as well as the consumer section of Brussels Ia. At the applicable law level, it suggests application of Article 6 Rome I (consumer contracts; a logical counterpart of the jurisdictional analysis) and, in subsidiary fashion, Article 4 Rome II, each to suggest application of Dutch law.

I wrote on Article 79 here, and the problems which I signalled have in the meantime surfaced in case-law, as I signalled ia here.  Current case prima facie may not be entirely straightforward under GDPR, BIa and Rome I – one imagines a possible TikTok’s defence to go ia towards the meaning of ‘establishment’.

Geert.

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