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CMS Poland Dispute Resolution team successfully represents a key insurance client in class action


On 23 October 2015, the Regional Court in Warsaw rejected the class action submitted by clients of AXA Życie Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S.A., recognising that it could not be the subject matter of a class action procedure. In these court proceedings the insurer is represented by international law firm CMS.

The court took the opinion that claims submitted by the group’s members, concerning surrender fees in unit-linked insurance policies, were not based on the same factual grounds. This is one of the conditions for enforcing claims in a class action procedure.

In its verbal justification the court explained that not all members of the group could have a legal interest in challenging each amount of the surrender fee, as anticipated in the contracts with AXA, and therefore this element differentiated the factual grounds of the claim.

“The ruling is not final and we should wait for its written justification. However, as implied in the oral justification, it is important that the statement of claim in the class action procedure is appropriately constructed so that the factual grounds for the claim are uniform for all members of the group. The defendant may undertake effective defence at the stage of examining the admissibility of the class action procedure,” explains Małgorzata Surdek, Partner managing CMS’s Dispute Resolution department.

The insurer is represented by a team of CMS lawyers specialising in litigation proceedings, led by advocate Małgorzata Surdek, Partner managing the Dispute Resolution department, and the Financial Institutions and Services team. The team is composed of: Katarzyna Kucharczyk and Karolina Szmit, legal counsels, Filip Grycewicz and Mariusz Minkiewicz, advocate trainees.

CMS has one of the few teams operating on the Polish legal advisory market composed of specialists in procedural, insurance and banking law, as well as in competition and consumer protection law.

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Małgorzata Surdek-Janicka