On Dec. 11, 2014, Advocate General Niilo Jääkinsen
advised that a German court could retain jurisdiction over a cartel
damages claim even after the only German defendant company has
reached a settlement.
In May 2006, the European Commission fined the members of a
hydrogen peroxide cartel. Several companies that claimed to have
suffered damages as a result of this cartel assigned their rights
to any damages from actions against the cartel members to a Belgian
company called Cartel Damages Claims Hydrogen Peroxide SA (CDC).
CDC brought a claim before a German regional court against six of
the cartel members, one of which was a German company.
Under the Brussels I regulation, a company must generally be
sued in the Member State in which they are domiciled. Where there
are several defendants, they may be sued in a Member State where
any one of them is domiciled if the claims are closely connected
enough that it would be desirable to hear them together to avoid
contradictory judgments on the same facts being made in different
In September 2009, the German defendant and CDC reached a
settlement and CDC withdrew its claim against this company. The
other companies against which CDC had a claim then challenged the
jurisdiction of the German court on the basis that none of them
were domiciled in Germany. The German court requested that the
Court of Justice of the European Union rule on several questions on
international jurisdiction within the EU.
Jääkinsen stated that the general rule regarding
jurisdiction should not apply in this case because the cartel's
operation had been substantial enough to have affected the whole of
the EU. He advised that the infringement had been a single ongoing
action over a long period and a wide area. Therefore, there was a
risk that allowing the case to be heard in the courts of more than
one Member State would lead to unequal treatment of the defendants.
Consequently, he concluded that the Brussels I regulation allowed
for the companies all to be tried in the same court.
Jääkinsen warned that this opinion must not be applied
abusively to allow forum shopping. The opinions of the Advocate
General aren't binding on the Court of Justice, which will
issues its ruling next. The case reference is C-352/13 and
Jääkinsen's opinion is available here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
By 27 December 2016, the Croatian Parliament needs to implement the Directive 2014/104/EU on antitrust damages actions, which is expected to streamline the procedure for private individuals and businesses to sue for damages...
The EU's one-stop shop principle for concentrations faces an uncertain future following for the UK's Brexit decision. Several scenarios could play out...
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).