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 (the District Court) rendered a judgment on the standing of the claimants, the applicable law and the validity of the assignments in the Trucks case.

The case is about an international cartel that caused an increase in the prices of trucks. European truck manufacturers made (at least) in the period of 1997 – 2011 agreements that restricted the competition and the European Commission fined them for that. Users of trucks have assigned their damages claims against the cartel members to the Stichting Trucks Cartel Compensation (STCC).

In line with previous case law, the District Court again confirms in this judgment that it is possible to conduct legal proceedings in the Netherlands on the basis of this assignment model. The District Court concurs with the view of the claimants that they do not have to comply with the requirements of the Dutch collective action system, because the users intentionally and voluntarily assigned their claims to STCC.

Furthermore, the District Court held, with reference to the judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal of 6 July 2021 in the Air Cargo case, that Dutch law governs all claims of the claimants. The claimants made a choice for Dutch law and, both under the Rome II Regulation as well Dutch international private law, that leads to the applicability of Dutch law only.

Finally, the District Court did not take into consideration the defences of the cartel members in relation to the validity of the assignments, mainly because these defences were not concrete and specific enough. The District Court thus concludes that the claims have been validly assigned to the claimants.

Jeroen van den Brande and Theodoor Verheij, who represent STCC, see the judgment as a confirmation of the – by now – settled case law in relation to cartel damages claims, which contributes to a predictable and efficient settlement of such claims.

For more information, please contact Theodoor Verheij.