Politico Report: Law firm sues Austrian town for 27 cents after it closed border crossing to Hungary

Best law firm story of the week!

A law firm has sued the Austrian town of Schattendorf for 27 cents in damage because it closed a border crossing between Austria and Hungary.

In July, employees of the law firm wanted to cross through the Austrian town to an appointment in the Hungarian town of Agfalva, which they say is the fastest route. The employees, instead, had to take a detour of 3.4 kilometers, costing them 27 cents more in fuel. Schattendorf should now refund this, the law firm argued in court on Wednesday.

“We are not doing this out of spite,” Mate Ruzicska, a lawyer at the firm NZP Nagy Legal, said according to Austrian news. The border closure is a breach of the EU’s Schengen law, which requires participating countries to remove all obstacles to smooth traffic flow at internal borders, the law firm argued.

The town — a popular transit route for commuters between Austria and Hungary — wanted to reduce traffic by turning the border into a pedestrian crossing from December onward. Construction on the pedestrian crossing began in March, leading to the closure of the border. Only residents of the two neighboring towns would be able to apply for an exemption allowing them to drive across at walking pace, Austrian news reported.

Schattendorf rejected a settlement, denying allegations from the law firm, and said the border crossing regulation was in line with the law, Austrian news reported. The court’s ruling will be issued in writing.