« Neo-Luddites Unite! | Main | Heidelberg Symposium Tickets Available »


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Krazy German Lawsuits Vol. XVII:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


This is what I like about this blog:
It's not just a random rant. It's a rant with footnotes!

Actually, I'm not so much surprised by the story, at least not about the couple filing lawsuits. However, I'm a bit astonished about their apparent prospects.
From my sense of justice (or gut feeling), I would have thought the maximum they could hope for either reimbursement of their flight back, or a proportional compensation for the lost time in Turkey. The latter approach leads me close to the 25 Euros, which might mean I'm not completely alone with these ideas.

But there's another aspect to it:
If a big company with little direct client contact as a tour operator doesn't doesn't get away with their obscure contractual provisions, that might even be a good thing.


You guys seemed to enjoy the waters. Since its summer its such a good idea to spend some time in beaches and pools.


As doppelfish noted, the "Bundesurlaubgsgesetz" (Federal vacation law) regulates paid leave for workers and has NOTHING to do with this case. The correct provisions can be found in §§ 651a ff. BGB (http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_bgb/englisch_bgb.html#p2612), which are based on EU regulations. And mind you, travel operators are being deterred from playing with their customers. The agency contracted with the plaintiffs who booked the journey with the reasonable expectation of a good night's sleep - which they didn't get. Now, the reaction might have been a bit over the top, but still - do you want your partner to change his side of a contractual obligation just like that?


In all fairness, the BUrlG is only concerned with german workers geting a minimum of paid leave every year. What they do in their vacation is entierely up to them. And while there were a couple of incidents in which the vacation didn't quite live up to the colorful promises made in the catalogue, not every lawsuit is successful, as evidenced by the famous Gürtel-Urteil.


The qualifier that needs to be attached to 'Germans find America's large jury verdicts puzzling' is 'Germans find the kinds of US jury verdicts which are widely reported in the German press to be puzzling.' In my experience, Germans know nothing about the practical, day-to-day workings of the American civil justice system; their perceptions are driven exclusively by the reports on extreme cases that crop up every few months in the German media.

The smarter German media consumers tend to take these reports with a grain of salt, recognizing that they're only getting the man-bites-dog stories. But many others are taken in...


"Pause for a moment, if you will, and imagine the amount of resources the legal system devoted to this one case: hundreds of [...] All because one couple lost 10 hours from a hideous tabloid-insert package vacation in some grotty Turkish beach hotel."

And you're a law professor.

It is one thing to argue - and I tend to agree with you here, from your description of the case - that this is one ludicrous and disproportionate lawsuit and a f***ing waste of lifetime from the plaintiffs' POV. It is an altogether different story, however, to assess whether the courts should deal with a particular case, as pathetic as the sums and particular interests involved may be.

If the legal issues involved in the case were easy, it wouldn't have gone to the Supreme Court. It seems likely that the case involved very important technical details or questions of interpretation. Thus the BGH judgement was possibly needed to set a precedent, in order to settle a tricky issue, thereby avoiding loads of claims for the future? Isn't that one of the very purposes of the courts, to set the law? If so then I find it strange to argue that this is a waste of public resources.

For the rest, I tend to agree with "Streithammel" here that the difference between the "Krazy US law system" and the "Krazy German law sysytem" claims is that for the US, people tend to find crazy - rightly or wrongly - the amounts of money that are awarded in civil proceedings there, while for Germany, people consider crazy (and I often agree) what Germans go to court for. The latter does not exactly have to do with the peculiarities of the legal system, but rather with those of the German people.


There was a case a couple of years ago (saw it myself in Tagesschau - a serious German news show) where some guy wanted the paint of his golden Mercedes convertible to be refreshed. When the price the garage told him was to expensive for his liking he asked them wether they could do it black (and here you need to now German to understand the joke!). The garage people agreed and gave him a lower price.
When the guy got his car back painted black he refused to pay the bill. The garage had to take him to court to get the money! Suprisingly the guy lost the case.

I think it is like Streithammel said: Here it is more about stupid people than about crazy court decisions.


PS: Explanation of the joke comes tomorrow. But maybe some non-native German speaker knows the answer?


Do you know if the complainers were teachers or jurists?

If you should ever try to rent a flat in Germany: Tell the landlord plausible that you are neither a jurist nor a teacher if you are interested in the flat.
I think, the discrimination of landlords toward teachers and jurists is stronger than toward turks or other unpopular foreigners because they are famous to sue for every littke bit. The worst is a couple of a teacher and a jurist.


Sorry, but when I first read "lawsuit" and "germans on turkish package vacation" I thought you are dealing with the ones complaining about too many handicapped people around, preventing the litigators from enjoying their holiday..?


You're missing the point. The American legal system is ridiculed because courts make insane decisions, not because individuals file stupid lawsuits.


At the close of the '90s, a German couple, who had booked a package tour of the USA, returned dissatisfied and sued the tour organizer, giving as reason that there were "too many Indians" on a Native American reservation they had visited. (Sorry, I have no source except my memory and this is long ago; court might have been the Amtsgericht in Bonn).

The comments to this entry are closed.

Andrew Hammel's items Go to Andrew Hammel's photostream
My Photo

Search German Joys

  • Google