ESB has launched legal action against four of the world’s largest truck manufacturers for their involvement in the pricing which ESB says has pushed up the cost of the distinctive yellow trucks in the semi-public company’s fleet.
The company has sued in the High Court against nine international entities associated with truck makers Volvo, DAF, Iveco and Daimler. Truck companies were fined more than 2.9 billion euros by the European Commission in 2016 after they were found to be involved in a cartel that fixed the prices of trucks. Swedish manufacturer MAN escaped sanction after revealing the existence of the cartel to the commission.
Exposure of their cartel behavior has sparked a legal backlash against carmakers across Europe in recent years, with dozens of cases brought against them by truck buyers in various countries seeking redress for trade rights violations. competition.
In the UK, for example, manufacturers are facing collective action on behalf of the logistics industry by the Road Haulage Association, which seeks compensation for companies that bought or leased 1997 trucks. to 2011, the years covered by the conclusion of the commission’s agreement. .
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In Ireland, around 60 such cases have been brought against manufacturers and also, in many cases, against their local Irish distributors and sales agents.
ESB, however, has filed complaints against the international divisions of the manufacturers themselves and not against local operators.
The string of pending Irish cases against trucking companies was filed in 2017 by transport companies seeking redress for allegedly overpaying, as well as punitive damages and compensation under the Law on competition. Some of the cases appear to have been dropped or settled in December 2017, but most have been placed on the court’s commercial list and remain in force.
The European Court of Justice has already ruled that truck buyers can sue manufacturers in national courts following the findings of the European Commission’s cartel case. Following a mention to the High Court in October 2019, the cases were scheduled to go to trial last year, but no date has yet been set.
ESB, meanwhile, is in the early stages of its legal action against the truck companies, which supplied some of the largest vehicles in ESB Networks’ fleet of approximately 2,700 vehicles, most of which are yellow pickup trucks which are not the subject of the allegations. in the case of the truck.
The power company is the first state entity and also the first company outside of the basic logistics industry to sue truck makers over pricing findings in Europe. So far, the majority of cases filed in Ireland have been from carriers or van rental companies.
ESB declined to comment on the court cases.