Trucks – District Court confirms – by now – settled case law: assignment model once again accepted and Dutch law governs all claims
Today, 27 July 2022, the Amsterdam District Court rendered a judgment on the standing of the claimants, the applicable law and the validity of the assignments in the Trucks case.
On 26 November 2021, in a case which is now known as the ‘Didam supermarket war’, the Dutch Supreme Court gave (new) rules on the sale of real estate by government bodies. This case was prompted by the sale of municipal land in the centre of the Dutch town of Didam to a real estate developer who wanted to build a new supermarket for Coop on that spot. Another real estate developer, a franchisee of Coop’s competitor Albert Heijn, was also interested in purchasing the land. However, the municipality did not provide the latter an opportunity to also make a bid for the land.
The ECJ confirms that a decision of a competition authority is not a prerequisite for private enforcement
Today, 11 November 2021, the European Court of Justice (the ECJ) rendered an important judgment on the relationship between the public and private enforcement of competition law in case C-819/19 (Stichting Cartel Compensation and Others). Following Advocate General Bobek’s opinion, the ECJ confirms that national courts are authorised to apply article 101 TFEU in cartel damages actions, which authority they derive directly from the TFEU, regardless of whether a competition authority has rendered a decision in respect of the relevant infringement (in whole or in part).
Today, 6 October 2021, the European Court of Justice (the ECJ) rendered an important judgment on the possibility of imputing liability for one group company’s anticompetitive conduct to another group company where the first has, but the latter has not been the addressee of a Commission decision. Following Advocate General Pitruzella’s opinion, the ECJ confirms this is possible if both companies constitute an economic unit (undertaking), for example because an anti-competitive agreement concluded by one group company concerns the same products as those marketed by another group company. This broadens the scope of the private enforcement of competition law infringements.
Yesterday, 6 July 2021, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal (the Court of Appeal) rendered an important judgment on the law applicable to cartel damages claims in the Air Cargo case. The Court of Appeal concurs with the judgment of the Amsterdam District Court (the District Court) and confirms that Dutch law applies to all damages claims that relate to flights from, to and within the EEA and Switzerland (follow-on damages claims).
On 26 May 2021, the The Hague District Court rendered a much talked-about judgment in the case of Milieudefensie et al. v. Shell.
In the judgment, the Court has ordered Shell to reduce the CO2 emissions of the entire Shell group worldwide to such an extent that the annual net volume of those emissions will at the end of 2030 have reduced by at least 45% relative to the 2019 level (the Reduction Obligation).
Today, 12 May, the Amsterdam District Court rendered an important judgment in the cartel damages actions in respect of the Trucks cartel.
Several known European Truck producers colluded on Truck pricing, for which the European Commission has imposed fines of several billion Euros. The Commission’s investigation revealed that the Truck producers had engaged in a cartel relating to coordinating prices. The infringement covered the entire EEA and lasted 14 years.
An exercise in legal archaeology, reaching as far back as 1962, leads to favourable opinion for cartel damages claims
In May 2019, we reported about an important judgment of the Amsterdam District Court in the cartel damages action of Stichting Cartel Compensation (SCC) in respect of the Air Cargo cartel. That judgment concerned the question whether the District Court, as national court, was authorised to privately enforce the European prohibition on cartels in respect of flights from before certain dates.
The District Court itself answered this question in the affirmative. Nonetheless, the Court decided to make a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In his opinion, which was published today, Advocate General Bobek adopts SCC’s reasoning: the prohibition of article 101 TFEU sets a clear and enforceable legal obligation: ‘thou shalt not cartel’. It is that self-executing right that individuals derive directly from the TFEU, and which national courts must safeguard, said Advocate General Bobek.
It is established case law that European competition law is addressed towards undertakings, and not to legal entities. It is also settled case law that within an undertaking, an infringement of a subsidiary can, under certain conditions, be attributed to a parent company.
As far as Advocate General Pitruzella is concerned, there is however no logical reason why liability can only be attributed upward, from subsidiary to parent company, but could not also be attributed downward, from parent company to subsidiary. This is the essence of his opinion in the Sumal case, which was published today.
On 30 June 2020, the final text of the draft EU group-claims directive (the Directive) was published. The final text was agreed between representatives of the European Commission, the member state governments and the European Parliament on 22 June 2020. The Directive is said to be adopted by the European Parliament this fall.