Conditions for bringing action in Norway against foreign companies

Supreme Court order 27 November 2019, HR-2019-2206-A, (case no. 19-023426SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against order.

I.
Bring Express Sverige AB
Bring Cargo Inrikes AB
Bring Linehaul AB
Bring Frigo Åkeri AB
Svebol Logistics AB
Bring Åkeri AB
Bring Trucking a.s.
(Counsel Ole Rasmus Asbjørnsen)

v.

Iveco S.p.A
Iveco Magirus AG
CNH Industrial N.V.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
(Counsel Aksel Joachim Hageler)

Volvo Lastvagnar Ab
Renault Trucks SAS
Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH
AB Volvo
(Counsel Kaare Andreas Shetelig)

DAF Trucks N.V.
DAF Trucks Deutschland GmbH
(Counsel Karl Oddmundson Wallevik)

Daimler AG
(Counsel Ole-Andreas Torgersen)

MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH
MAN SE
Man Truck & Bus Ag
(Counsel Thomas Gjølberg Naalsund)

II.
Iveco S.p.A
Iveco Magirus AG
CNH Industrial N.V.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
(Counsel Aksel Joachim Hageler)

Volvo Lastvagnar Ab
Renault Trucks SAS
Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH
AB Volvo
(Counsel Kaare Andreas Shetelig)

DAF Trucks N.V.
DAF Trucks Deutschland GmbH
(Counsel Karl Oddmundson Wallevik)

Daimler AG
(Counsel Ole-Andreas Torgersen)

MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland GmbH
MAN SE
Man Truck & Bus Ag
(Counsel Thomas Gjølberg Naalsund)

v.

Bring Cargo AS
Bring Linehaul AS
Bring Gudbrandsdalen AS
Bring Transportløsninger AS
Posten Norge AS
Espeland Transport AS
(Counsel Ole Rasmus Asbjørnsen)

Justices: Møse, Matheson, Bull, Kallerud, Steinsvik

A number of European truck manufacturers had been charged with extensive fines by the European Commission for price fixing.

Posten Norge AS with Norwegian and foreign subsidiaries had purchased a large number of trucks from these manufacturers, also from one manufacturer's Norwegian subsidiary. This subsidiary was not comprised by the European Commission's decision. Posten Norge AS with subsidiaries brought an action before Oslo District Court against all manufacturers together with the Norwegian subsidiary invoking Article 6 (1) of the Lugano Convention on special jurisdiction. It was held that the defendants were jointly and severally liable for the loss that the price fixing had caused for the claimants.

The Supreme Court, after having conducted an oral hearing, stated that the condition in Article 6 (1) of the Lugano Convention that the claims must have been closely connected that the provision to apply – the "closeness requirement" – assumes that the same legal and factual situation creates a risk of conflicting judgments resulting from separate proceedings. The claimant carries the burden of proving that the conditions for accumulation are met. In the review, a relatively thorough assessment must be made of whether the claims are so closely connected, legally and factually, that it is expedient to hear and determine them together. The claimant must demonstrate a certain likelihood that the proximity requirement is met. A mere contention by the claimant is, however, not sufficient. That the Norwegian subsidiary was not comprised by the European Commission's decision could not prevent that the company could be made an anchor defendant. Nor could the company be required to have participated on the same terms as the addressees of the decision. The condition for proceedings in Article 6 (1) of the Lugano Convention was considered met also for the foreign claimants. Against this background, the action from all claimants was allowed against all defendants.

Read the whole order

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