Trucks Cartel Damages Claims: Thousand and Odd Judgments issued by Spanish Appeal Courts

This article explores the Spanish caselaw on the trucks cartel damages claims. It presents a rigorous empirical assessment of the courts’ decisions (as of the cut-off date of 1/10/22), focusing particularly on the 1185 judgments on the merits issued by the courts of appeal. The large number of judgments is explained by the lack of an adequate instrument for class actions. Nevertheless, this article explains that the Spanish judicial system has managed to digest mass litigation through the collectivization of judgments, which replicate each other inefficiently but still manage to deliver justice.
There is consensus among Spanish courts that the trucks cartel was harmful and that it caused an overcharge in trucks’ purchases while the cartel was in place, but they show disagreement on the level of proof claimants are required to meet in quantifying the overcharge and in the criteria followed by courts to estimate the overcharge when awarding damages.
The Spanish courts’ experience with trucks damages claims will undoubtedly be helpful for the forthcoming follow-on damages claims emerging before the Spanish courts (prominently the milk procurement cartel and the car manufacturers’ cartel). It may also be useful for courts and practitioners in other Member States in which the trucks cartel litigation is still in progress, as Spanish courts have had to deal with many of the numerous potential doubts, questions, and problems that this case poses.

Read more…