We provided legal assistance to a food and non-food retail company in a civil action brought by a natural person against a company for damages of EUR 25,000. The claim of the natural person against the company was completely rejected by a judgment of the court of appeal.
Circumstances of the case
The natural person purchased a meat product in the company’s store, and later found signs of damage. The person complained about this to the Food and Veterinary Service (FVS). After a inspection in the store by the FVS, inconsistencies in the marking of the goods, unrelated to the quality of the goods, were found. On the basis of the FVS decision, the natural person applied to the court for EUR 25,000 compensation for moral damages.
Findings of the regional court
The court of first instance upheld the part of the claim against which the company filed an appeal. The regional court decided to reject the claim completely. The court did not find any prerequisites for a moral compensation claim. The court found that non-conformity of the label does not in itself give rise to the right to compensation for moral damages.
The court recognised that the fact of purchasing a low-quality food product may cause the consumer disappointment, dissatisfaction, upset, anger or other negative emotions; however, these emotions must be distinguished from mental suffering that causes harm.
The court also considered that the case does not establish a causal relationship between the non-compliance of the company with labelling of goods found by the FVS and the circumstances on which the applicant based the claim of mental damage caused to them.