IIn the dispute over the order of FFP2 masks, the Bonn district court sentenced the federal government to pay a total of around 26 million euros. The processes are about FFP2 masks, which were ordered at the beginning of the corona pandemic but not paid for by the federal government. This was justified with poor quality. A spokeswoman for the court said on Monday that there had already been three so-called conditional judgments.
In one case it is reported to be around 15.4 million euros, in two others around 1.7 and 5.8 million euros, respectively. Reservation rulings are not the last word of a court, they take place after the inspection of documents. In a second part of the proceedings, the follow-up proceedings, witnesses could still have their say or an expert could bring his point of view. The Federal Ministry of Health did not want to comment on the matter because the proceedings were still ongoing. The magazine Der Spiegel had previously reported on this reservation judgment.
In another process, it had already been decided that the federal government should pay three million euros for part of the mask quantity, the court spokeswoman added. For the other part of the mask set, the process continues. In addition, two complaints were dismissed; In these disputes, the federal government thus retained the upper hand.
Since last year, more than a hundred lawsuits have been filed with the Bonn district court to force the federal government to pay for masks. This is about an “open house” procedure that the Federal Ministry of Health carried out after the outbreak of the corona pandemic at the end of March 2020: Anyone who wanted could sell FFP2 masks to the federal government for EUR 4.50 net per piece. The logic: In a market that had been swept empty, the price was so high that goods could be had despite the adverse circumstances. There was no cap on the unusual tendering process.
In fact, the market quickly picked up again, with a large number of companies procuring many more masks than initially assumed. In retrospect, the price was very high. FFP2 masks have long cost significantly less, often less than one euro.
For some of the mass deliveries from numerous companies, the federal government refused to pay and cited quality defects. In the case of the 15 million euro reservation judgment that has now become known, the federal government pointed out, for example, that a testing institute had tested the masks and that they had failed. Now the Bonn regional court ruled that the test reports did not even reveal whether the plaintiff’s masks or the masks from other companies had been tested at all.
In addition, the judges did not consider the reports meaningful, they should not be assessed as an impartial test report. This assessment could have implications for other lawsuits as well.