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Court of Appeals rules Finnair must pay compensation for delays due to techicals

Court of Appeals rules Finnair must pay compensation for delays due to techicals

Old Feb 16, 15, 5:37 am
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Court of Appeals rules Finnair must pay compensation for delays due to techicals

According to MTV3, the Helsinki Court of Appeals (hovioikeus) has just made a ruling that requires airlines to pay compension for delays caused by technicals.

Until now, Finnair has refused to pay up for technicals as it has claimed they fall under extraordinary circumstances exempted from compensation. This particular case deals with an incident in 2009 in Dubai where the air conditioning system of the plane malfunctioned and caused a long delay.

The new ruling is rather significant but it is more than likely that Finnair will appear to the Supreme Court. Given the nature of the case, my guess is that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case.

Cheers,
T.
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Old Feb 16, 15, 5:40 am
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While I agree, that the ruling is very important, I'm not so sure the case is "heavy" enough for the Supreme Court to hear it. But we'll see.
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Old Feb 16, 15, 9:07 am
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Here is the article in Helsingin Sanomat: http://www.hs.fi/talous/a1424060093166

Note the cost of proceedings (82000EUR)! Somebody had a lot of dedication to go through the whole process to recover the EC261 compensation...
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Old Feb 16, 15, 11:43 pm
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Interesting. When is the deadline for appeal?

This has been trialed in other europeean courts, and it is a bit surprising if Finnish supreme court could go againts? I mean, this is legislation that superceeds the national laws, right? So can it even be appealed under national courts?
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:08 am
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IANAL but AFAIU, European directives are not laws. They are requirements and guidelines for country-specific laws. So presumably Finnair was found to violate the Finnish country-specific implementation law of EC261, not EC261 per se.

If you'd find that the Finnish legal system failed to enforce EC261, then I guess you'd have to take the Finnish government, not Finnair, to the European courts.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by Courmisch
IANAL but AFAIU, European directives are not laws. They are requirements and guidelines for country-specific laws. So presumably Finnair was found to violate the Finnish country-specific implementation law of EC261, not EC261 per se.
I knew many regulations are like that (need for national implementation) but are this one so too?
IIRC the current ruling ("maintenence performed according to manufacturers instructions does not equal all tech issues can be considered extraordinary") was made by an EC-court and therefore valid across the union.
But I am far from sure.

Originally Posted by Courmisch
If you'd find that the Finnish legal system failed to enforce EC261, then I guess you'd have to take the Finnish government, not Finnair, to the European courts.
Yes, that was what I was getting at in any case. It would be a bizarre setting if Finnish implementation would free airlines based in Finland from responsibilities when other are accountable.
In such a situation, I guess any competing airline would be happy to sue Finland if the commision is slow to react.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 2:08 am
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Originally Posted by intuition
Interesting. When is the deadline for appeal?
By mid Aprl 2015
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Old Feb 17, 15, 3:13 am
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EC261 is not a directive, but rather an EU regulation (Fi: asetus). These do not (and cannot) be implemented nationally. So Finnair was found to be in direct violation of EC261, as there is no national implementation.

Also, at least on one Finnair case (that went as far as the Supreme Court and the ECJ), the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority acted as counsel for a consumer. Therefore, the consumer beared no cost risk of his own. However, in this case, I suspect that the consumer really has had a paid counsel, as I don't think the CCA is allowed to charge legal costs even from the counterparty.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 3:31 am
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I have just received a copy of the judgment from the Court of Appeals. It seems that the claimant actually ended up having to pay some € 10,000 of his own legal expenses in the Court of Appeals. So in the end, he ended up winning € 600, but having to dig up € 10,000 from his own pocket to pay his lawyers.

I guess that's called taking one for your team.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 3:52 am
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Was the claimant lawyer himself?
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Old Feb 18, 15, 2:02 am
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He might be but he has used external counsel. Otherwise wouldn't be able to rack up such high fees. From what I know, the going rate for your own legal work (which that too only applies if you are a lawyer) is much lower than what's accepted if you have an external counsel.
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Old Feb 18, 15, 3:38 am
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So in the end, he ended up winning € 600, but having to dig up € 10,000 from his own pocket to pay his lawyers.
I am no expert in Finnish law, but are you sure that no part of the EUR 10,000 has to be reimboursed, if the passenger wins?

Moreover, Finnair is pretty "stupid" not to settle. It has nothing to gain here.
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Old Feb 18, 15, 3:59 am
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Originally Posted by deissi
He might be but he has used external counsel. Otherwise wouldn't be able to rack up such high fees. From what I know, the going rate for your own legal work (which that too only applies if you are a lawyer) is much lower than what's accepted if you have an external counsel.
But that external counsel might very well work for his/her own firm. Usually in Finland loser pays winner's legal expenses in full, but if they are very high, the court may deduct something. In this case relatively high expenses are justified, since the case probably relied a lot in rulings in other EU countries based on same regulation, but apparently the court decides there are still limits.
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Old Feb 19, 15, 3:50 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn
I am no expert in Finnish law, but are you sure that no part of the EUR 10,000 has to be reimboursed, if the passenger wins?

Moreover, Finnair is pretty "stupid" not to settle. It has nothing to gain here.
He was awarded some EUR 85,000 in legal costs altogether, but his total legal costs were about EUR 95,000.
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Old Feb 19, 15, 3:53 am
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This is why the CoA did not award the plaintiff his legal costs in full (no English translation, sorry):
Hovioikeuskulut

46. Nurminen on vaatinut oikeudenkyntikulujensa korvaamista hovioikeudessa 45.304 eurolla. Finnair on kiistnyt Nurmisen oikeudenkyntikuluvaatimuksen van Damin asiantuntijalausunnon ja ennakkoratkaisupyyntn liittyneiden oikeudenkyntikulujen osalta. Finnair on lisksi paljoksunut asiaan kytetty tuntimr ottaen huomioon, ett Finnairilla oli asiassa todistustaakka.

47. Vaatimukset on hovioikeudessa ratkaistu Nurmisen hyvksi lukuun ottamatta krjoikeuskuluista hyltty osuutta. Hovioikeus ei ole hyvksynyt Nurmisen ennakkoratkaisupyynt. Ennakkoratkaisupyynnn tekemisest ja Finnairin siihen antamaan vastaukseen perehtymisest sisltyy Nurmisen oikeudenkyntikuluvaatimukseen yhteens 1.950 euron mrinen kuluer. Ennakkoratkaisupyynnn hyvksymtt jttminen on koskenut harkinnanvaraista seikkaa, jolla on kuitenkin ollut vhist suurempi vaikutus asianosaisten oikeudenkyntikuluihin. Nurmisella ei siten ole oikeudenkymiskaaren 21 luvun 1 ja 3 :n nojalla oikeutta saada sanotuilta osin korvausta oikeudenkyntikuluistaan.

48. Hovioikeus arvioi Nurmisen tarpeellisista toimenpiteist johtuviksi kohtuullisiksi oikeudenkyntikuluiksi hovioikeudessa 35.000 euroa.
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