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Spain

Author: María Paz García Rubio / Marta Otero Crespo

VI. Case law

A. Table

Year

Court

Subject

Keywords

2013

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber), 241/2013, 9 may

Consumer law, oppressive clauses in banking services, "floor- clauses"

Representative action (AUSBANC); legal standing; injunctive relief

2013

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber), 14/2013, 4 February

Consumer law, oppressive clauses

Injunctive relief; termination of contract

2013

Decision of the Court of First Instance nº 90 of Madrid, 19th November 2013

Product liability law, defective drug

Collective action, mass torts

2012

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber, section 1) 118/2012, 13 march

Consumer law, oppressive clauses

Art. 11 CPA & Act on general contractual conditions or standard form contracts & General Act on consumer protection; Representative action (claimant 'Asociación de consumidores de Pontevedra'); cable TV contracts, oppressive clauses declared null and void; a local consumer's association has legal standing to defend both individual and diffuse interests

2011

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil chamber, section 1) 35/2011, 1 february

Consumer law, Financial services, linked contracts

Representative action (ADICAE); linked contracts: English language courses and Bank loans

2011

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court), num 442/2011, 17 june

Consumer law; Product Liability

Collective action; Product liability Act 1994; Defective drug; 'Agreal' side- effects; lack of information contained on the leaflet; damages awarded

2011

Decision of the Audiencia Provincial (Court of Appeal) of Madrid 149/2011

Consumer law, Financial services

Art. 11 CPA & General Act on Consumer Protection 1984; Representative action (claimant AUSBANC, consumers' association); Financial services; Misleading advertising; injunctive relief awarded

2010

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court, Civil chamber) num 473/ 2010, 15 July

Consumer law

Representative action (claimant: AUSBANC, Art. 11 Civil Procedure Act); Transport; Motorway collapsed after a snowfall

2010

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court, Civil Chamber), num 861/2010, 29 December

Consumer law

AUSBANC representative action; rounding- up clauses; oppressive banking clauses; injunctive relief

2010

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court, Civil Chamber), num 663/2010, 4 November

Consumer Law, Financial Services

Representative action; rounding- up clauses; mortgages contracts; interpretation of Article 4.2 Directive 93/13/EEC

2010

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court, Civil Chamber), num 545/2010, 9 December

Product liability

Collective action; General Act on Consumer Protection 1984 & Product liability Act 1994; defective breast implants; non-pecuniary damages, personal injuries and patrimonial damages awarded

2010

Decision of the Audiencia Provincial (Court of Appeal) of Barcelona 527/2010, 21 October

Consumer law

Representative action (Consumers' association); Art. 11 CPA & General Act on Consumer Protection 1984; Electric supply; massive power cut; pecuniary damages awarded

2010

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court, Civil Chamber), num 401/2010, 1 July

Consumer Law; EU Law

Representative action; consumer protection, oppressive clauses, insurance contract

2006

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo num 1079/2006, 3 November

Consumer law

Representative action (Consumers' association, art. 7.3 LOPJ); General Act on Consumer Protection 1984 & Act on General Contractual Conditions or Standard Form Contracts 1998; Gas supply; unfair contract term including an activation fee; reimbursement of the fees awarded

2005

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Administrative chamber, Section 6), 20 September

Liability of the public administration

Representative action; consumers association legal standing; flight delays; patrimonial and moral damages awarded

1999

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Administrative Division), 323/1999, 25 January

Liability of the public administration

Tous dam case bis': Defective dam; crumble causing personal injuries and material damage; damages awarded. See also the Decision of the Superior Court of Justice of Comunidad Valencia, 10 July 2000

1997

Decision of the Supreme Court (Criminal Division), num 5661/1997, 26 September

Consumer law; product liability

'Colza case'. Defective product; rapeseed oil; compensation awarded for injuries caused by the consumption of rapeseed oil

1997

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Administrative Division), 8084/1997, 20 October

Liability of the public administration

Tous dam case': Defective dam; crumble causing personal injuries and material damages; damages awarded

B. Summaries

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber), 241/2013, 9 May

Keywords: representative action, legal standing, injunctive relief, 'floor- clauses'

The Supreme Court considered the so-called "floor- clauses" in mortgages contracts to be null and void. The claim was filed by AUSBANC in the defence of the interest of consumers and users against Spanish banks and savings banks. The Court held that those clauses were oppressive but did not impose any compensatory damages for the amounts already paid by consumers.

Decision of the Court of First Instance nº 90 of Madrid, 19th November 2013

Keywords: Product liability law; defective drug, collective action; mass torts

The Court of First Instance nº 90 of Madrid has ordered a German pharmaceutical company to pay compensation to thalidomide drug victims, born with disabilities after their mothers used the drug during pregnancy decades ago. The collective action was filed by the Spanish Association of Thalidomide Victims (Asociación de víctimas de la talidomida en España), representing 200 alleged victims. The court has ordered the German pharmaceutical company in Spain to pay EUR 20,000 for each percentage point of disability of victims recognized by the Spanish Health Ministry.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber, section 1) 118/2012, 13 March

Keywords: Consumer law; representative action; legal standing; damages awarded

A local Consumer association ('Asociación de consumidores de Pontevedra') filed a claim against a cable TV company to defend both an individual's and collective diffuse interests. The Association considered that some of the clauses in the contract were oppressive as consumers had to pay for renting a TV accessory which increased the initial price agreed. The Supreme Court confirmed that such clauses are oppressive and so were null and void. The Consumer association has legal standing to defend both individual and diffuse interests at the same time. As a result, the cable company had to compensate and refund consumers the amount of money paid for renting the TV accessory.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber, section 1) 35/2011, 1 February

Keywords: Representative action (ADICAE); linked contracts: English language courses and Bank loans

ADICAE (Asociación de Usuarios de Cajas, Bancos y Seguros de España) filed a claim against Finanzia Banco de Crédito SA to defend the rights of consumers in a case where the Consumer credit Act was applied in relation to the financing of English language courses. Those language courses were financed through bank loans linked to the English language contract for services. The educational institution became bankrupt and consumers were required to continue paying the loans. The Supreme Court confirmed the Audiencia provincial decision ratifying that the consumers do not have to continue paying the loan when those credit contracts were based on an educational contract that was cancelled by the Educational institution's fault.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil Chamber, section 1) 442/2011, 17 June

Keywords: Collective action; Product liability Act 1994; Defective drug; 'Agreal' side- effects; lack of information contained on the leaflet; damages awarded

In a case where a drug called 'Agreal' was demonstrated as defective according to the Product Liability Act 1994, the Supreme Court awarded damages to cover financial compensation for injuries related to defective drug side effects not specified on the leaflet.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil chamber) 473/2010, 15 July

Keywords: Consumer law; Representative action (claimant: AUSBANC, Art. 11 Civil Procedure Act); Transport; Motorway collapsed after a snowfall

Due to a winter snowfall, a motorway collapsed for around 17 hours. The Court granted patrimonial and non-patrimonial damages to the drivers and users affected following their finding that the motorway operating company was not diligent in establishing adequate measures to avoid such damaging circumstances.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court, Civil Chamber), num 861/2010, 29 December

Keywords: AUSBANC representative action; rounding- up clauses; oppressive banking clauses; injunctive relief

AUSBANC (Asociación de Usuarios de Servicios Bancarios) filed a representative action seeking injunctive relief in banking contracts. Some of those contracts with users included rounding-up clauses which were not negotiated individually and were in breach of good faith. The Court considered those oppressive clauses granting injunctive relief to be null and void.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Civil chamber) num 545/2010, 9 December

Keywords: Collective action; General Act on Consumer Protection 1984 & Product liability Act 1994; defective breast implants; non-pecuniary damages, personal injuries and patrimonial damages awarded

This case deals with product liability issues. The Supreme Court awarded non-pecuniary damages, personal injuries and patrimonial damages in a case where several women were carrying defective breast implants. The injured women filed a collective action based on the General Act on Consumer protection 1984 and Product liability Act 1994.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Administrative chamber, Section 6), 20 September 2005

Keywords: Representative action; consumers association legal standing; flight delays; patrimonial and moral damages awarded

This is a case where the liability of the public Spanish Administration (AENA, Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea) was established. A consumer association filed a claim to recover patrimonial and moral damages based on systematic flight delays caused by the malfunctioning of AENA.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Administrative chamber), 323/1999, 25 January & Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Administrative chamber) 8084/1997, 20 October

Keywords: Defective dam; crumble causing personal injuries and material damage; damages awarded

Both decisions dealt with the 'Tous dam case'. In 1982 the dam crumbled causing personal injuries and material damage. The Courts granted reparation. See also the Decision of the Superior Court of Justice of Valencia 10 July 2000.

Decision of the Tribunal Supremo (Criminal division) num 5661/1997, 26 September

Keywords: Defective product; rapeseed oil; compensation awarded for injuries caused by the consumption of rapeseed oil

The Supreme Court granted compensation for the injuries caused by the consumption of rapeseed oil. This is the so-called 'Colza case', one of the most important product liability cases in Spain. The product caused more than 1,000 deaths and left more than 25,000 people seriously injured, many of whom were permanently disabled.

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