Follow-on damage claim: Dutch court jurisdiction in claim against non-EU defendants
On 29 November 2018, a Dutch court assumed jurisdiction in three civil damage claim procedures against non-EU defendants relating to the TV and computer monitor tubes cartel (judgement).
Article 7 of the Dutch Procedural Code (DPC) provides (in short) that if a Dutch court has jurisdiction with respect to any given defendant in a particular case, it also has jurisdiction with respect to all other defendants, provided that the claims are connected in such a way that a joint proceeding is justified for reasons of efficiency.
In the case at hand, several civil damage claims were initiated by Brazilian companies against Philips. These claimants also initiated proceedings in the Netherlands against several defendants located outside the EU. Consequently, the Dutch court was confronted with the question whether it had jurisdiction under Article 7 DPC to assess these claims against non-EU defendants.
The court found that it had jurisdiction in relation to the proceedings against LGE Brazil because the claims against LGE Brazil was closely connected with the claim against Philips. The court took accounts of the fact that the Brazilian competition authority (CADE) reached settlements with Philips and LGE Brazil in relation to the cartel. The court also referred to the fact that under Brazilian law each cartel participant is jointly and severally liable for damages caused to damaged parties.
In addition, the court deems it efficient to assume jurisdiction as otherwise other courts would need to assess the claims against LGE Brazil. These courts would also have to review the facts of the case, apply Brazilian law and estimate the damage. In brief, the court assumes jurisdiction in order to prevent contradictory rulings and to guarantee an efficient judicial process.
The court in essence applies the same line of reasoning in relation to the other defendants. However, in one of the proceedings the court only to assumes partial jurisdiction. The TV and computer monitor tubes cartel consists of two separate cartels, the CDT (computers) and CPT (television) cartel. Technicolor, one of the non-EU defendants, argues that it was never active on the CDT market and was never under scrutiny of any competition authority as to an infringement on the CDT market. Based on these grounds, the court declares that it does not have jurisdiction in relation to the CDT part of the claim against Technicolor.
If you have any further questions on this issue or would like to receive more information, please contact your trusted adviser at the Loyens & Loeff Competition Team.