Short Reads

First material judgment in Dutch damages proceedings in trucks infringement

First material judgment in Dutch damages proceedings in trucks infrin

First material judgment in Dutch damages proceedings in trucks infringement

03.06.2021 NL law

In its judgment of 12 May 2021, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that it has not been established that it is definitively excluded that the trucks infringement led to damage to the claimants. However, this does not alter the fact that it must still be assessed for each claimant whether the threshold for referral to the damages assessment procedure has been met. For this to be the case, it must be plausible that a claimant may have suffered damage as a result of the unlawful actions of the truck manufacturers. The Amsterdam District Court has not yet ruled on this issue.

On 12 May 2021, the Amsterdam District Court rendered an interim judgment on the merits in the trucks cartel follow-on proceedings.

In this interim judgment, the District Court rendered a decision on the topics discussed during the court hearing in November 2020. This mainly included the scope of the decision of the European Commission (EC) and the question whether it can be entirely excluded that damage has occurred.

Facts and status of Dutch follow-on proceedings

In its decision of 19 July 2016, the EC found that several truck manufacturers had infringed Article 101 TFEU. Following this decision, numerous civil damages claims have been brought before national courts in the EEA, including the Netherlands.

So far, the pending damages proceedings in the Netherlands have been managed in three ‘groups’. The interim judgment discussed here relates to the first set of joint proceedings.

Judgment Amsterdam District Court

The District Court ruled that it is bound by the operative part of the decision of the EC and the infringing behaviour it establishes. However, it allows the parties to provide further facts to give context to the facts established by the EC.

In addition, the District Court ruled that it cannot be entirely excluded that the trucks infringement led to damage to the claimants. However, this does not alter the fact that it will have to be assessed for each claimant whether the threshold for referral to the damages assessment procedure has been met. For this to be the case, it must be plausible that a claimant may have suffered damage as a result of the unlawful actions of the truck manufacturers. The District Court has not yet ruled on this issue.

This means that the proceedings will continue, and that – in the light of the defences put forward by the truck manufacturers – the damages claims will be further substantively assessed. Whether the proceedings will be referred to the damages assessment proceedings, and the outcome of any potential damages assessment, remains to be seen.

Conclusion

The District Court has ruled that it cannot entirely be excluded that damage has occurred. Therefore, the next step is to assess for each claimant whether the threshold for referral to the damages assessment proceedings has been met. The Court has not yet taken a decision on this.

 

This article was published in the Competition Newsletter of June 2021. Other articles in this newsletter:

 

Team

Related news

07.10.2021 NL law
Commission’s record fine for gun jumping upheld

Short Reads - Pre-closing covenants protecting the target’s value or commercial integrity pending merger clearance from the European Commission must be drafted carefully. The General Court confirmed the Commission’s record-breaking fines on Altice for violating the EU Merger Regulation’s notification and standstill obligations. According to the General Court, the mere possibility of exercising decisive influence over the target can result in a gun jumping breach.

Read more

21.10.2021 EU law
Law and Artificial Intelligence (part three): towards a European perspective in intellectual property? The European Parliament goes one step further…

Articles - For the European Union, it is time to have uniformed rules on artificial intelligence (AI). On 20 October 2020, the European Parliamentary Assembly adopted, on the basis of three reports, three resolutions on AI from three different perspectives. These resolutions have recently (on 6 October 2021) been published in the Official Journal.

Read more

07.10.2021 NL law
Commission reveals first piece of antitrust sustainability puzzle

Short Reads - The European Commission has published a Policy Brief setting out its preliminary views on how to fit the European Green Deal’s sustainability goals into the EU competition rules. Companies keen to be green may be left in limbo by a looming clash with more far-reaching proposals from national competition authorities. More pieces of the antitrust sustainability puzzle will fall into place as soon as the ongoing review of the guidelines on horizontal cooperation is finalised.

Read more

21.10.2021 EU law
Law and Artificial Intelligence (part two): towards a European framework in line with the ethical values of the EU? The European Parliament goes one step further…

Articles - For the European Union, it is time to have uniformed rules on artificial intelligence (AI). On 20 October 2020, the European Parliamentary Assembly adopted, on the basis of three reports, three resolutions on AI from three different perspectives. These resolutions have recently (on 6 October 2021) been published in the Official Journal.

Read more

07.10.2021 NL law
Court of Appeal provides guidance for further course of proceedings in prestressing steel litigation

Short Reads - On 27 July 2021, the Court of Appeal of Den Bosch issued an interim judgment in the Dutch prestressing steel litigation, ruling on three issues: (i) the obligation of claimant to furnish facts; (ii) the assignment of claims; and (iii) the liability of the parent companies. In short, the Court of Appeal allowed the claimant Deutsche Bahn another opportunity to supplement the facts needed to substantiate its claims in the next phase of the proceedings.

Read more