ZUS group proceedings
These proceedings were connected with the issue of submitting notifications on suspensions in the conducting of business activity to the Social Insurance Institution [ZUS] by entrepreneurs – natural persons before the introduction of the possibility of the formal suspension of business activity, meaning before the date of 20 September 2008.
The group proceedings were initiated by Mr. Rafał Robak, acting in the capacity of the group representative against the Social Insurance Institution with its registered seat in Warsaw (hereinafter referred to as: “ZUS“) before the Regional Court in Warsaw, 25th Civil Division, in the case with file ref. no. XXV C 4/12, and subsequently before the Court of Appeals in Warsaw, 6th Civil Division, in the case with file ref. no VI ACz 1176/13.
The group proceedings instigated in the case were limited to the demand for the establishment of ZUS’ compensatory liability in relation to the group members, resulting from the complex tort on the part of ZUS, entailing the illegal execution of public authority through providing misleading and unreliable information to the group members as entrepreneurs, on the possibility of submitting notification on the temporary discontinuation of conducting business activity (the so-called suspension of business activity) before 20 September 2008 as well as the further actions, strengthening the group members’ conviction that the notifications of such suspensions submitted by them in the indicated period were correct/legal and effective.
The course of the proceedings
- The statement of claims in the above case was filed on 30 December 2010. The group representative was acting on behalf of 19 persons at the time.
- With the decision of 23 January 2013, file ref. no. XXV C 4/12, the Regional Court in Warsaw rejected the statement of claims on the establishment of ZUS’ liability for reasons of the non-fulfillment, in the opinion of the Court, of the premises of admissibility of examining the case in a group proceedings. The court stated that the claims of the individual group members are different to the point that they cannot be examined jointly – the premise of the common factual basis of the claims is not fulfilled. This decision was challenged by the Claimant – through a complaint.
- The Court of Appeals in Warsaw, 6thCivil Division, dismissed the Claimant’s complaint with the decision of 5 June 2013 file ref. no. VI ACz 1176/13, recognizing the stance of the court of first instance in terms of the inadmissibility of the group proceedings in the case of establishing ZUS’ compensatory liability as correct.
- On 23 September 2013, the Claimant filed a cassation complaint to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeals in Warsaw of 5 June 2013, rejecting the statement of claims for the establishment of liability in group proceedings. With the decision of 13 June 2014 in the case with file ref. no I CSK 654/13, the Supreme Court refused to accept the cassation complaint for examination.
The status of the case
The proceedings were concluded with a final ruling on the rejection of the statement of claims due to the inadmissibility of the group proceedings in the case. The cassation complaint against the decision of the court of second instance in this subject was not accepted for examination by the Supreme Court.