Martens Lawyers successfully represent the World Bridge Federation in a damage claim

Dr Heiner Kahlert and David Menz have successfully represented the World Bridge Federation (WBF) in civil court proceedings before the Regional Court of Cologne.

The WBF was sued by two senior bridge players for payment of economic and moral damages in a total amount exceeding EUR 150,000. The background to the claim was that due to the players having illicitly communicated with each other by way of coughing at the 2013 World Championship, the WBF had subsequently disqualified them from the tournament, annulled their championship title, and banned them for life as a pair. The Dusseldorf Court of Appeals had declared the ban, but not the disqualification and the annulment of the title, invalid in 2017.

The Regional Court of Cologne dismissed the damage claim almost in its entirety. Only a very small portion of the claimed economic damages (related to legal fees incurred in the proceedings before the WBF judicial body in 2013) was awarded to the claimants. However, the claim for moral damages was dismissed in full. With regard to the latter, the court held that the claimants failed to proof a violation of their personality rights by the WBF which could justify a monetary compensation, not least because there were sufficient indicators for them having indeed violated the rules of the game as per the WBF’s accusations.