The Data Brief

A monthly data protection bulletin from the barristers at 5 Essex Chambers

Our new regular feature: this month’s de minimis decision

23 February 2022

Stadler v Currys Group Ltd [2022] EWHC 160 (QB)

Another month; another High Court decision on the whether a claim fails for triviality. This claim concerns a Smart TV which the Claimant purchased, before returning it to Currys. Currys appears to have resold the television without wiping the Claimant’s data from it. Amongst that data, stored within various apps including the Amazon app, the Claimant says is his personal data. It, he says, includes bank details. The Claimant knows this is the case because the Claimant received a notification that on New Year’s Eve the new owner purchased a £3.49 move on his Amazon account.

In respect of the Data Protection Act 2018 claim, the Court considered strike out of the claim as either being de minimis or an abuse under the Court’s Jameel jurisdiction, the latter enabling the Court to strike out the claim where the “game is not worth the candle”.

HH Judge Lewis held that the claim was “unquestionably of low value” because the breach arises from a single incident that was remedied promptly. However, the inclusion of significant personal data including banking details rendered it non-trivial.

Nonetheless, the Judge recognised that the claim was of such low value that litigation in the High Court would simply not be worth the candle, being disproportionate. A pragmatic solution was found: the claim was allocated to the small claims track, to be resolved by way of “an informal process, with limited additional work needed to prepare for a two or three-hour final hearing”.

The Court went on to consider a further issue of general application. The claim was also pleaded as a breach of confidence or a misuse or private information. Applying Warren (Data Brief 4). Currys’ failure relied upon in both instances was the disclosure of the data. Both claims were struck out, there being no evidence that Curry’s knew that the data was on the Smart TV and accordingly cannot have put it to any unauthorised use. The claims were fundamentally defective.

Further reading

Stadler v Currys Group Ltd [2022] EWHC 160 (QB)

The Data Brief

A monthly data protection bulletin from the barristers at 5 Essex Chambers

The Data Brief is edited by Francesca Whitelaw KC, Aaron Moss and John Goss, barristers at 5 Essex Chambers, with contributions from the whole information law, data protection and AI Team.

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