EU court says Volvo and DAF trucks can be sued in Spanish cartel case

© Reuters. The Volvo logo is seen on a truck for sale in Lynden, NJ, U.S., May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Fu Yunzhi

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – DAF trucks from Swedish truck makers Volvo and Paccar (NASDAQ: AG) can be sued by Spanish claimants over the truck maker’s cartel, Europe’s top court said on Wednesday, in a ruling that could bring sparked more claims against truck makers. cartel member.

In 2016, two companies, Daimler (OTC: ) and Italy’s Iveco, were fined a record 2.9 billion euros ($3 billion) by the European Commission for fixing prices and coordinating the introduction of new emissions technologies.

The EU competition watchdog said the cartel lasted from 1997 to 2011. Volvo was fined 670.45 million euros and DAF trucks were fined 752.68 million euros.

AB Volvo and DAF Trucks were subsequently sued for damages in a Spanish court in 2018, which ordered the companies to pay the claimants who bought three trucks from them. The judge set the damages at 15 percent of the vehicle’s purchase price.

The truck maker has argued that the claim has lapsed due to a five-year statute of limitations imposed by Spanish law to translate the EU damages directive into the country’s law, and is appealing the judgment.

Spanish courts have sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Court of Justice of the European Union said the claims were within a time limit.

The judgment could trigger claimants in a similar situation in Germany, said Ann-Christin Richter, deputy managing partner at law firm Hausfeld, which has filed damages lawsuits against various cartels.

“This ruling is very important for truck cartel damages lawsuits in Germany because it delays the overall restriction by a year,” she said.

“While the prevailing view so far is that the restrictions under German law have expired, the ruling means that claims can still be brought in Germany for several months,” Richter said.

Cases are C-267/20 Volvo and DAF trucks.

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