Decision of the Regional Court in Katowice 1st Civil Division of 4th April 2019
I C 998/18
- The requirement of the same or similar factual basis means that the factual basis of the claim need not consist of identical circumstances but their significant similarity is sufficient.
- Admittedly, the Act on Pursuing Claims in Group Proceedings does not set forth the course and initiative of the establishment of a subgroup, but it is assumed that the decision to establish a subgroup is made by a group representative, who bases on assessment of the claims amount notified by the persons joining the group. Obtaining a group member’s consent to assign them to a particular subgroup (i.e. to standardization of their claims in the subgroup) is not necessary. However, a contract concluded by the group representative and group members may stipulate different rules of creating subgroups, including, in particular, the group representative’s obligation to obtain group members’ prior consent to standardize the amount of their claims and decide which subgroup they belong to.
- The court does not participate in the process of creating particular subgroups and cannot specify them, change their numerosity, or influence on their composition. This is because, the court ex officio does not interfere with either the quality or the amount of the claims pursued by the members of the group proceedings – in this respect the principle that the parties delimit the subject matter of the proceedings, set forth in Article 321 of Polish Code of Civil Procedure in connection with Article 24.1 of Act on Pursuing Claims in Group Proceedings, applies.
- Joining a specified subgroup should be expressly confirmed by a group member, so that a group representative and a court have no doubts which subgroup the group member joined and what kind of standardization is covered by their consent. The confirmation may be expressed in any form (also in form of an oral declaration addressed to a group representative) and need not to be submitted to the court.
- The view that spouses should be treated as a two-person subgroup, in which each spouse claims 50% of the value of the jointly pursued claim, is not correct, because the claim belonging to joint co-ownership is indivisible. However, it is correct that one spouse is a group member and acts in the common interest of both of them, with the consent of the second, pursuing a claim that both spouses are entitled to. Then, the spouses’ claim would be standardized with the claim of another group or subgroup member.
The Regional Court in Katowice 1st Civil Division with the following ruling bench:
Presiding judge: Jolanta Polko, Regional Court Judge
Judges: Agata Młynarczyk-Śmieja, Regional Court Judge
Katarzyna Zadora, District Court Judge (delegated; rapporteur)
having examined on 4th April 2019 in Katowice at the hearing in camera the group action filed by J. D. acting as a representative of the group consisting of 33 persons i.e. [data of the group members], who is a group member as well, against (…) Spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością spółka komandytowa in Ś., for payment,
examine the case in group proceedings.