Short Reads

Limburg District Court accepted jurisdiction in damages claim against immunity applicants

Limburg District Court accepted jurisdiction in damages claim against immunity applicants

Limburg District Court accepted jurisdiction in damages claim against immunity applicants


On 25 February 2015, the District Court of Limburg ("District Court") rendered a judgment on various preliminary issues in an antitrust damage case between Deutsche Bahn and a number of producers of prestressing steel. The judgment confirms that, in general, Dutch courts consider themselves competent to rule on damages claims against all alleged cartel participants, even when they are foreign immunity applicants, if a Dutch "anchor" is amongst the defendants.

In the main proceedings, Deutsche Bahn claimed the defendants, including German immunity applicants DWK and Saarstahl, are liable for any damage they may have caused due to their Article 101 infringement (See Commission Decision COMP/38.344). The defendants filed various preliminary motions, including a motion to declare lack of jurisdiction and a request for disclosure.

The District Court dismissed DWK's and Saarstahl's motion to declare lack of jurisdiction because it found a sufficiently close connection between Deutsche Bahn's claims against Netherlands-based anchor defendants Nedri Spanstaal and Hit Groep on the one hand, and the claims against DWK and Saarstahl on the other. In establishing this close connection, the Court took into consideration that, according to the Commission decision, all defendants  took part in a "single and continuous infringement" of competition law and that they "had a common goal" in carrying out their arrangements.

Furthermore, DWK and Saarstahl argued that under the recently adopted, but not yet implemented, Actions for Damages Directive, immunity applicants such as themselves cannot be held jointly and severally liable for all damage caused by the cartel, but only for damage incurred by their own customers. The District Court rejected this argument, considering that even if it were to accept that the immunity applicants are only liable for damage caused to their own customers, the case against the immunity applicants still had a sufficiently close connection with the claims against the other defendants.

The District Court furthermore dismissed the defendants' request for disclosure of invoice data and assignment deeds of the claims. The District Court ruled that the defendants did not yet have a legitimate interest in disclosure of these documents. Such disclosure would be “premature” as the relevance of these documents in assessing the defendants’ liability will depend on the substantiation of the parties in the main proceedings. 


Related news

24.05.2019 NL law
European regulatory initiatives for online platforms and search engines

Short Reads - As part of the digital economy, the rise of online platforms and search engines raises all kinds of legal questions. For example, do bicycle couriers qualify as employees who are entitled to ordinary labour law protections? Or should they be considered self-employed (see our Stibbe website on this issue)? The rise of online platforms also triggers more general legal questions on the relationship between online platforms and their users. Importantly, the European Union is becoming increasingly active in this field.

Read more

21.05.2019 EU law
Part one - GDPR and Public Law - Applicability of GDPR to public bodies

Articles - Since the GDPR became applicable almost one year ago, multiple questions have arisen about its interaction with other fields of law. In this three-part blog series of “GDPR and Public Law”, we discuss three relevant issues of the interaction of GDPR with public law and government. In this blog we discuss the applicability of GDPR to public bodies.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring