Dutch Trucks litigation: are truck cartelists reaching the end of the road?
On 27 July 2022, the Amsterdam District Court (the Court) ruled against the defendants on the legal standing of the claim vehicles, the admissibility of their claims, the validity of the assignments and the applicable law to the claims in the Trucks litigation.
On 16 July 2016, the European Commission found that five major truck manufacturers – MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF – coordinated the pricing of trucks from 1997 to 2011, as well as colluded on the timing of the introduction of emission technologies and the passing on to customers of the costs of those technologies (the 2016 Decision).
The 27 July 2022 judgment follows on from the 12 May 2021 judgment when the Court ruled in the claimants’ favour on the binding effect and scope of the 2016 Decision in these proceedings and on the plausibility of the truck cartel having caused damages.
In this very important 27 July 2022 judgment, the Court held that the claim vehicles have standing and therefore the claim vehicles’ claims are admissible. The Court furthermore ruled that it is permitted under Dutch law to assign claims and the assignment agreements are valid. The Court found that the truck manufacturers had not stated enough to rule that any individual assignments are invalid. The fact that the assignment agreements were drafted in different languages was not deemed relevant since the defendants are active in these markets.
The Court noted that the Dutch collective action regime does not apply to these proceedings. The truck manufacturers had argued that the Dutch collective regime was applicable to conclude that the claims should be dismissed.
Finally, the Court found that the claims are governed by Dutch law. The Court did not follow the truck manufacturers’ arguments that different laws had to be applied to different claims, which would have delayed the proceedings.
A further hearing will now be scheduled in the first three months of 2023 to discuss the remaining topics.