It was not unexpected! The first class-action against a state for its COVID-19 measurements has been filed in Europe. And will for sure only be the start of a tsunami of lawsuits against states and authorities as a consequence of the COVIS-19 crisis. The measures may have saved the lives of many old people but certainly, they have brought the unemployment rate and the number of bankruptcies to the highest level since World War II. It was entirely logical that these partially unconstitutional measures would arouse the interest of lawyers and litigation finders.
Austria again sets the tone
It is not without irony that the first class action we know of in Europe is being brought in Austria. The Austrian Chancellor had publicly said that he would not attach too much importance to the “legal subtleties” of his government’s measures. Legally speaking, therefore, he accepted that these measures were contrary to the constitution and laws. And so he has a responsibility.
The Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People’s Party presented himself as the European doer in the COVID-19 crisis and was proud of his quick and drastic measures. These measures included the usual lockdown and curfew from mid-March 2020. As in most other Western countries, this brought about a social and economic standstill. Unemployment including furloughs reached record levels. In Austria, about 1.6 million or almost 30% of the working population. In relation to the number of employed workers of around 3.5 million, the number of unemployed and furloughed workers is even more than 40%.
The Class Action Business
It is precisely in this Austria that a local litigation funder Venera of Helga Gselmann and Andreas Gselmann is planning a class action against the Republic on account of the unconstitutionality of numerous COVID-19 measures of the Austrian government. Andreas Gselmann has already filed class-action against online dating agencies Parship and Elite Partners through another company in 2019. Now Austrian entrepreneurs can join his COVID-19 class action against the Republic of Austria for a one-off payment of €950.
The class-action is calling on Austrian companies to join the lawsuit and claim the losses from the COVID-19 crisis from the Austrian state.
In the class action “CORONAKLAGE.AT” we offer financially damaged entrepreneurs the opportunity to join the proceedings to enforce their claims for compensation. Our team of experts in constitutional law spent an enormous amount of time preparing our collective proceedings. Our goal is to fight the unconstitutionality of the current Covid-19 measures law and thus enforce your claim for compensation.Andreas Gselmann , Managing Partner Venera
In particular, the litigation funder points out on its website www.coronaklage.at that in the course of the COVID-19 measures the government knowingly repealed the Pandemic Law (Epidemiegesetz 1950), which has been in force since 1950. This law has provided for a compensation claim by companies in the event of such measures. At present, Austrian companies have to torment themselves through a wood of sometimes absurd support measures. Venera’s class-action is now intended to clarify the situation through the courts and provide compensation to Austrian companies.
It can be assumed that further such lawsuits will also be filed in other jurisdictions. The associated legal clarification will take years. By then many of the companies concerned will probably already be insolvent. In any case, these lawsuits could be good business for the lawyers and litigation funders involved.