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Schmidt Law Office Obtains Preliminary Ruling Against Truck Cartel in European Court of Justice

Schmidt Law Office Obtains Preliminary Ruling Against Truck Cartel in European Court of Justice

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The Schmidt Law Office has successfully represented the interests of Hungary's Tibor Trans Ltd. before the European Court of Justice in its demand for damages resulting from a purported cartel of six truck manufacturers that operated to fix prices of medium and heavy trucks between January 1997 and January 2011.

According to the Schmidt Law Office, in its decision of July 29, 2019, "the European Court of Justice held [that] the place where the harmful event occurred is the place where the market prices were distorted and in which the victim claims to have suffered that damage. This means that claimants may bring their claims in their home countries’ courts, rather than the courts of the cartel members. Pending procedures may be continued throughout Europe – as the procedures suspended due to this preliminary ruling procedure.| 

According to the Schmidt Law Office, Tibor Trans would have bought its trucks at lower prices without the cartel, with the difference between those prices and what it was forced to pay constituting the damages it sought. The firm reports that "the lawsuit was initiated in Hungary against a Dutch producer which was not a contractual partner of Tibor Trans, but a participant of the cartel. The Hungarian court dismissed Tibor Trans’ claim based on lack of jurisdiction, [but] the second instance court turned to the European Court of Justice with a so=called preliminary ruling procedure – a procedure of interpretation if the contents of a legislative act are not clear."

According to the Schmidt Law Office, the ECJ's ruling that Tibor Trans – and other claimants – may initiate lawsuits in their home states as a place “where the damage occurred" is important, "because the default rule in international litigation is that the lawsuit takes place at the home state of the defendant."

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