District Court of Amsterdam rules on the duty to furnish facts in antitrust damages case concerning the trucks sector

NL Law
EU Law

In an interim judgment of 28 February 2024, the District Court of Amsterdam ruled inter alia on the duty to furnish facts for claimants in liability proceedings following an infringement of competition law rules. In its judgment, the Court ordered the claimants to submit additional information regarding the transactions (purchases, leases, etc. of trucks) in relation to which they claim compensation.

The case concerns antitrust follow on damages litigation based on European Commission decisions of 2016 and 2017 (case AT.39824) regarding competition law infringements in the trucks manufacturing sector.

Several thousands of claimants claim compensation for losses allegedly suffered as a result of the infringement, inter alia, by bundling their damages claims in a number of litigation vehicles (‘SPVs’). The Court joined those cases into four groups of combined cases each concerning a maximum of approximately 200.000 trucks.

The present interim judgment is rendered for the first group of joined claim cases and followed several earlier interim judgments. In one of those earlier judgments – an interim judgment of 15 May 2019 – the Court had ordered the claimants to provide concrete information to confirm who acquired what trucks (including truck brand names), when and from whom. After the defendants responded to the information provided by the claimants, the Court ruled in the present interim judgment that an additional written round is required for the claimants to reply to the responses of the defendants and to provide additional information where necessary. Specifically, the Court ordered the claimants to furnish concrete and documented facts relating to all transactions for which damages are claimed, in order to create a complete picture of the scope of the claims. In addition, the Court held that the claimants will have to provide further facts for transactions that have been contested by the defendants. 

Furthermore, the Court considered that it will not – at this stage – render a judgment on the minimum substantiation that is required for follow-on claims, nor on the possible consequences of a failure by the claimants to provide the required substantiation. In that regard, the Court stated that its future rulings on those issues may well depend on whether the claimants’ claims should be regarded as (i) one single claim per claimant, consisting of different damage headings for each relevant transaction; or (ii) a bundle of claims for each claimant who entered into more than one transaction, with each transaction giving rise to a separate claim for damages. The District Court of Amsterdam intends to await the guidance it expects to receive from the Netherlands Supreme Court in the second group of joined trucks cases (see here), where a similar question on the nature of competition damages claims is currently being considered (albeit in the context of applicable law).