EU: EC to pay for lengthy cartel appeal case

A European Union court on Tuesday awarded two companies damages against the bloc for the excessive delay in the industrial bag makers’ appeal of cartel fines.

The companies Gascogne Sack Deutschland (formerly Sachsa Verpackung) and Gascogne (formerly Groupe Gascogne) brought actions before the General Court on 23 February 2006, seeking the annulment of a decision adopted by the Commission in a case concerning a cartel in the industrial plastic bags sector1 The General Court dismissed those actions by judgments of 16 November 2011. On appeal, the Court of Justice, by judgments of 26 November 2013, upheld the judgments of the General Court and, accordingly, the fines amounting to a total of €13.2 million imposed on the two companies. The Court of Justice noted however that the two companies could bring actions for damages seeking compensation for possible damage which they may have suffered as a result of the excessive length of the proceedings before the General Court.

The companies Gascogne Sack Deutschland and Gascogne now ask the General Court to order the EU to pay close to €4 million in damages for the material harm (close to €3.5 million sought) and the non-material harm (€500 000 sought) that they claim to have suffered as a result of the excessive length of the proceedings before the General Court. It is the first case on this issue to be adjudicated.

By today’s judgment, the Court, sitting in an extended formation different from that which heard the initial proceedings, partially upheld the actions of the two companies by awarding damages of €47 064.33 to Gascogne for the material harm suffered and damages of €5 000 to each of the two companies for the non-material harm.

Full Content: CURIA EU

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