The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by Cecosa HipermercadosS.L. against the judgment of the Audiencia de Madrid that declared that it had violated the right to privacy of the former president of the Community of Madrid Cristina Cifuentes for failing to comply with her obligation to safeguard a recording of said person in an Eroski supermarket on May 5, 2011. a video that was widely disseminated seven years later in the media.

The confirmed sentence orders the hypermarket chain to pay 30,000 euros in compensation to Cifuentes for the damages caused as a result of the violation of his right to privacy.

Former Madrid president Cristina Cifuentes filed a lawsuit against Cecosa in which she requested a declaration that her conduct constituted an illegitimate interference with her fundamental rights to honour, privacy and self-image, and that she be ordered to compensate him in the amount of 450,000 euros and to publish the sentence in two national newspapers.

The claims made in the application were based on the defendant's failure to comply with its obligations under the rules on the protection of personal data in respect of the recording of which the applicant was subjected in an establishment in Eroski on 5 May 2011, of which it was the owner, which was subsequently leaked to the press and was widely disseminated in 2018. At the time of the recording, Cifuentes was vice-president of the Assembly of Madrid, and when it was made public, seven years later, she was president of the Community, a position from which she resigned after the video was disseminated.

The Provincial Court of Madrid partially upheld the appeal filed by Cifuentes, and declared that Cecosa had failed to comply with the obligations imposed on it by the regulations on the protection of personal data with respect to the custody of the recording, setting a compensation of 30,000 euros.

Now, the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court dismisses in its entirety Cecosa's appeal which, among other arguments, considered that the Provincial Court carried out an incorrect balancing of the conflict between the freedoms of expression and information and the right to privacy of the plaintiff, since it was a question of the disclosure of truthful facts of enormous public interest as they constitute a criminal offence and committed by a person public.

In this regard, the SC replies that the judgment under appeal is completely unrelated to the conflict between the applicant's freedoms of expression and information and the applicant's right to privacy, "since the appellant's conviction is based on 'the breaches committed by the defendant entity in the custody of the recording made in an establishment owned by it' imposed on it by data protection regulations.

The appellant herself makes it clear that she did not make use of these public freedoms because it was not she who disseminated the video, but a media outlet that is not the defendant did so"

With regard to the appellant's disagreement with the amount of compensation as disproportionate, the court highlights the great impact that public knowledge of the recording, brought about by the defendant's breach of its duty of custody and subsequent destruction of the recording, had on public opinion, which "clearly shows that the moral damages were very significant". Therefore, it considers that the High Court did not arbitrarily establish the amount, which it ratifies.

  • Cristina Cifuentes
  • Community of Madrid