Partner Birgit Kraml successfully represented a Slovak student who was defamed in media reports. The student's Facebook photo was used by several Austrian daily newspapers and online media. The media were reporting on the murder of a different Slovak woman with exactly the same name whose body was found in Vienna and who, according to the media reports, worked as a prostitute. The newspapers published the photo of Wolf Theiss' client with captions labelling the student a "call girl" and a "dead prostitute".
Wolf Theiss took on the case and filed claims against three Austrian daily newspapers based on defamation and infringement of the right to personal privacy. The student was granted damages from all three daily newspapers, however only on the grounds of defamation. The appellate court did not accept the claimed infringement of the right to personal privacy, reasoning that working as a prostitute is not part of one's personal life. The fact that the Slovak student never actually worked in this regard was considered irrelevant by the High Criminal Court.
No further appeal of the decision was possible for the student. However, the Procurator General raised an appeal for nullity for observance of the law before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that prostitution cannot be considered a job as any other but is part of one's personal life which is protected and which must, therefore, be respected also by the media.
Ms. Kraml commented the decision:
"The case has attracted considerable interest in the Austrian media ever since it first became public and is a landmark decision towards ethical journalism. No-one can unwrite yesterday's news. However, the damages achieved and the decision of the Supreme Court are at least a certain compensation for our client."