Zenith CC&P Current Awareness

Court of Justice rules that indirect purchaser can claim in trucks cartel damages action

1 August 2019

Prof. Suzanne Rab

Zenith's Suzanne Rab writes:

The Court of Justice has ruled on a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article 7(2) of Regulation 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Recast Brussels Regulation).

The case arises out of a claim in the Hungarian national court by Tibor-Trans Fuvarozó és Kereskedelmi Kft (Tibor-Trans) against DAF Trucks in relation to the European Commission’s 2016 trucks cartel decision.

Article 7(2) of Regulation 1215/2012 provides that a person domiciled in a member state may be sued in another member state, in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur.

Tibor-Trans did not purchase trucks directly from the cartel participants.  The trucks at issue were bought by Hungarian dealers who were alleged to have passed on the increased costs to end purchasers, including Tibor-Trans.

The Court of Justice ruled that Article 7(2) of Regulation 1215/2012 must be interpreted as meaning that in respect of a claim for breach of Article 101 concerning collusive arrangements, "the place where the harmful event occurred" covers the place where the market which is affected by that infringement is located.  This is the place where the market is distorted and in respect of which the victim claims that it suffered loss, even if it did not purchase directly from the cartel participants who were the addressees of the Commission’s decision. 

It seems to follow that courts in member states where the damage was felt may hear an action even if this is different from the market where the unlawful conduct occurred.  Usually, these places will coincide but not always.

(Case C-451/18) Tibor-Trans Fuvarozó és Kereskedelmi Kft. v DAF TRUCKS N.V. ECLI:EU:C:2019:635

Current Awareness

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