In February 2007, the president and the general secretary of the municipal police union USPPM distributed a document to the city council members of Vendays Montalivet and key citizens, to inform them of their opinion on a work conflict between a member of their union and the mayor of the city.
On July 18th 2007, the tribunal of Bordeaux condemned the applicants for “public defamation” to a fine of €1,000 and to damages of €2,500 each to be paid to the mayor. On February 1st 2008, their appeal to the court of Bordeaux failed. On December 9th 2008, the supreme court (Cour de cassation) refused to hear their case.
On June 5th 2009, the applicants filed their case with the E.C.H.R, arguing that the judgment was a violation of articles 10 and 11 of the Convention. On June 14th 2010, the application was communicated to the French government with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicants are represented by Me Dorothee Le Fraper du Helen and Me Sophie Baumel who refused to give any information or comment on the case.
On October 6th 2011, the Court found a violation of article 10 of the Convention and condemned the French Republic to pay €4,000 of damages to the applicants.