The Federal Court of Justice has ruled that a contractual partner may be entitled to compensation for the costs incurred by him because, contrary to the agreement of an exclusive jurisdiction in Germany, he is suing a US court in Germany. has been. The contract at issue in the present case contained the agreement that German law was applicable.
The current defendant nevertheless filed a lawsuit in federal court in the United States in 2016, but lost the lawsuit under the jurisdiction agreement. However, reimbursement of costs does not take place in the USA if the victory is complete.
The present plaintiff therefore sued for compensation of USD 196,118.03 (yes, costs in the USA are so high, even if it is ONLY matters of jurisdiction – usually legal fees) and was corrected by the BGH. The agreement conferring jurisdiction must be interpreted as meaning that the parties were obliged to bring actions under the contract only at that place of jurisdiction and, otherwise, to be able to rely on costs of appropriate defence.
By such an agreement, the parties would have expressed their interest in making litigation predictable, both in substantive and procedural terms, in making litigation risks predictable and a subsequent ‘forum shopping’ by a Party.
The fact that, according to the case-law of the BGH, only in the use of a state, legally regulated administrative procedure for the enforcement of supposed rights, no breach of contract which is binding on damages is generally regarded as does not preclude that.
The judgment impressively shows how relevant questions of jurisdiction and applicable law can be in international treaties, although these clauses are often placed somewhere under ‘other’ and are quickly overlooked.