News

Air Cargo – Dutch law applicable to all follow-on damages claims

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).

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The Shell judgment: following developments in society is unlawful? Noblesse oblige?

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).

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Amsterdam District Court wants to have none of the high-level defences in Trucks

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.

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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.

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Up and down, jumping all around?

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.

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Final text of the EU group-claims directive published

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.

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Don’t rush to court, agree your own provisional measures with our free tool

Like our health care system, our legal system has its limits. Due to the recent developments in respect of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the courts in the Netherlands have partially closed and only handle specific, urgent cases. This will in any event be the case until 6 April 2020 and, depending on further developments, this might even remain the status quo for a longer period of time.

We made for you a free online legal tool which enables you to quickly make an agreement on provisional measures.

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First collective mass tort claim, for 8.5 million Dutch and European parties

On 1 January 2020, the Settlement of Large-scale Losses or Damage (Class Actions) Act (in Dutch abbreviated as the WAMCA) entered into force. This Act provides for the possibility to not only request a declaratory decision, but also claim damages in a collective action. Two-and-a-half months later, the first collective damages action is there. Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice (SDEJ) has filed a collective mass tort claim for 8.5 million Dutch and European car owners in respect of the Volkswagen Dieselgate. This appears from the Central register for collective actions.

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Judgment Amsterdam District Court induces English High Court to make preliminary reference

The tables have turned. In May last year, 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 (ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2019:3394) concerned the question of whether the Amsterdam District Court, as national court, was authorised to privately enforce the European prohibition on cartels in respect of flights from before certain dates.

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Claimants do not have to prove the validity of assignments

Today, 10 March, the Amsterdam Appellate Court rendered judgment on the validity of the assignments in the cartel damages action of Stichting Cartel Compensation (SCC) in respect of the Air Cargo cartel (ECLI:NL:GHAMS:2020:713). These assignments concern the damages claims of purchasers of Air Cargo services that have incurred damages as a result of the cartel. Many Airlines colluded to increase prices inter alia by coordinating their action on surcharges for fuel.

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