OLG Stuttgart: Temporary injunction obtained against the president of a dance organisation to prevent further damaging statements against our client (Ref. 4 U 159/20)

by ZELLER & SEYFERT

OLG Stuttgart: Temporary injunction obtained to prevent damaging statements against our client

Our client is a UK based independent Irish dance instructor. He is engaged by various dance schools around the world to teach Irish Dance workshops. He has also been engaged by various German dance schools to lead such workshops for Irish dance.

The German-based president of a dance organisation, which also runs a dance school in Germany, had made the following claims about our client:

  • Our client had sexually approached three girls during a dance workshop and had manipulated and bullied them.
  • Our client had tried to sleep with three girls during a dance workshop and then engaged in "mind games" with them.
  • Our client would therefore be subject to alleged criminal proceedings in the USA and Great Britain. In the USA, these proceedings are in an early phase. In the UK, there will be a court date in June 2020 and the defendant would appear there to tell their story.

We applied to the Stuttgart Regional Court (Landgericht Stuttgart) for an injunction against the president of the dance organization, to prevent the making and spreading of the above allegations. In these proceedings, it was undisputed that no criminal proceedings for sexual assault were pending against our client in the USA or in Great Britain. There have never been any criminal proceedings against our client.

With regard to the first two statements, the defendant could only name two adult young women whom our client allegedly approached sexually and whom he allegedly manipulated and engaged in mind games. Our client has always emphatically denied all allegations.

To our great surprise, the Stuttgart Regional Court had only issued a temporary injunction against the false assertion in the third indent. The assertions in the first two indents, on the other hand, were covered by the freedom of opinion, despite being undisputedly false. The defendant was unable to even name three girls who were allegedly sexually assaulted by our client. We therefore recommended that our client appeal against the first instance judgment of the Stuttgart Regional Court.

Further Appeal to Higher Regional Court

Following our appeal, the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart) has in the meantime overturned the judgment of the Stuttgart Regional Court, providing us full satisfaction. The defendant is also bearing all costs of both court proceedings. Agreeing with our submission, the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court justified its judgment by stating that untrue factual claims are never covered by the fundamental right of freedom of opinion. The defendant's claims were simply false.

In the main action now pending, we have now also sued the defendant for damages (compensation for financial losses) and for monetary compensation (violation of the general right of personality). The oral proceedings will take place in October.

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