Truck cartel: success of road haulers represented by Scoccini& Associati before the Court of Appeal of Milan, which upheld the first instance judgement that had rejected the limitation period exception.In the case concerning the compensation for damages caused by the truck cartel suffered by road haulers, in a ruling published on October 10, 2023, the second instance judges rejected the appeals brought by all the manufacturers and confirmed the partial judgment of the First Istance Court, reaffirmed that the statute of limitations exception is unfounded and declared inadmissible both the ground of appeal against the binding value of the 2016 Commission Decision, and the request for a suspension of the judgment. The manufacturers were ordered by the Court to pay legal costs of approximately 100,000 euros.
In the litigation concerning claims for damages against the truck manufacturers’ cartel established by the European Commission decision of July 19, 2016, a new judgment of the Milan Court of Appeal called again to rule on a partial judgment, following judgment No. 188 of January 2020 commented on here.
With the judgement dated July 13, 2023, and published on October 10, 2023, the second instance judges rejected the appeals brought by MAN, Iveco, Scania, Daimler, Daf, and Volvo/Renault, which objected that the plaintiff companies’ right to compensation was time-barred, as well as that the Decision was not binding in domestic civil cases because it was issued at the end of settlement proceedings. The appellants also asked the Court of Appeals to suspend the judgment pending the ruling of the EU Court of Justice on the appeal brought by Scania against the judgment of the EU General Court that had upheld in full the Commission’s Decision establishing its participation in the Truck Cartel.
According to the Court of Appeal, the appellants’ complaint regarding the statute of limitations does not deserve to be upheld since it appears to be undisputed that the limitation period begin to run from the day on which the companies became aware of the damage and its injustice. Moreover, no evidence has been provided by the appellants who had the burden, that such qualified knowledge dated back at least to 2011 and thus to a period prior to the Commission’s decision of July 19, 2016.
The second instance Court, accepting the exception raised by the appellant firms, defended by Attorneys Scoccini, declared inadmissible the second ground of appeal of the manufacturing firms, which alleged the erroneousness of the first instance ruling in the part in which it held the binding nature of the Decision, rendered on July 19, 2016 by the European Commission in relation to the existence of the illicit, for the national courts. Man and Iveco’s compliant refers, according to the Court, to a ruling that lacks decisive content, as it is merely ordinatory, instrumental respect to the further course of the trial, as it is aimed at determining whether or not the claim concerning the damage resulting from the purchase of the trucks produced by the cartelists to whom the Decision was addressed could continue. The Court therefore declared this compliant inadmissible.
Also declared inadmissible the ground of appeal against the decision of the Court of Milan to separate the cases involving compensation for the purchase of Scania vehicles and not to stay the proceedings pending the ruling of the EU Court of Justice on the appeal brought by Scania. The Court of Milan had, in fact, ruled that it is also possible to proceed in relation to compensation claims involving Scania-branded vehicles on the basis of the Decision that had established its participation in the cartel, though not final, because it has since been upheld at first instance by the EU Court.
In good favor of the companies that acted in the first instance to receive compensation for the damages caused by the truck cartel, the Court as a result of the rejection of the main and cross-appeal brought by the counterparts, awarded nearly 100,000 euros in legal fees in favor of the plaintiffs in the first instance, taking into account the value of the litigation, the particular importance of the case, and the defense efforts made.