Higher Regional Court (OLG) - Bamberg, Judgment as of 4/4/2001
File number 8 U 141/00

Key issues

Civil proceedings regarding damages for pain and suffering for rape and sexual coercion of a man by another man; increase of damages for pain and suffering from DM 15,000 to DM 30,000; comments on the criteria for assessing the amount of damages for pain and suffering; criminal conviction of perpetrator has no effect on the amount of damages for pain and suffering.

Summary

On the plaintiff’s appeal, the review court increased the damages for pain and suffering for rape and sexual coercion from DM 15,000 to DM 30,000.

In 1999, the plaintiff was sexually coerced and raped by the defendant several times. The civil court of first instance awarded him DM 15,000 as damages for pain and suffering for this. The court stressed that the atonement function of damages for pain and suffering is not fulfilled alone by the criminal conviction of the perpetrator, because the victims - especially those of sexual crimes - are forced to re-live the experience in the criminal proceedings. When assessing the amount of the damages for pain and suffering, permanent and long-enduring injuries must especially be taken into account. Based on the plaintiff’s submissions regarding the limitations to his life caused by psychological problems, the court of first instance held DM 15,000 to be reasonable.

On the plaintiff’s appeal, the next higher review court increased the damages for pain and suffering to DM 30,000. The review court was of the opinion that the court of first instance had failed to give adequate weight to the way the crime had been carried out, to the psychological harm suffered, and to the likelihood that such harm will endure for a long time. The court therefore awarded the plaintiff an additional DM 15,000. The amount of DM 70,000 sought by the plaintiff was held by the court to be excessive, although it did acknowledge that the amounts being awarded by the courts for damages for pain and suffering for rape had risen significantly in recent times.

Decisions in full text:

OLG_Bamberg_04_04_2001 (PDF, 1542 KB, not barrier-free, in German)

LG_Hof_15_12_2000 (PDF, 1832 KB, not barrier-free, in German)

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