On 22 June 2022, the Amsterdam District Court rendered judgment in a class action against Mercedes et al. These proceedings have been instituted by three different foundations that want to be the exclusive representative. In this dispute, the foundations are claiming, inter alia, damages from Mercedes et al. because they manufactured and sold diesel cars with cheating software. In this judgment, the District Court rendered a decision on jurisdiction and the applicability of the WAMCA.
Firstly, the District Court declared the Stichting Emission Claim, one of the three foundations, inadmissible because it did not issue its summons within the statutory period and also did not request a postponement.
The District Court then discussed its jurisdiction. Not all claims of the foundations have been lodged against all the defendants for the benefit of the same group of persons whose interests the foundations represent. According to the District Court, this affects the assessment of jurisdiction, which is why it distinguishes between persons who purchased a vehicle in the Netherlands and persons who purchased a vehicle in another country of the European Union. The dealers and the importer are all domiciled in the Netherlands, the claim lodged against them that serves to protect similar interests of persons residing in the Netherlands who purchased a vehicle in the Netherlands is therefore not of an international nature. The Dutch court has jurisdiction with regard to that claim. Pursuant to Article 4(1) of the Brussels I Regulation Recast, the court has jurisdiction with regard to the claim for the benefit of buyers who do not reside in the Netherlands and who purchased their vehicle from a Dutch dealer. The Dutch court also has jurisdiction with regard to the car manufacturers in so far as the vehicle was purchased in the Netherlands, which jurisdiction can be derived from Article 7(2) Brussels I Regulation Recast (erfolgsort).
According to the District Court, no jurisdiction can be derived with regard to the claim aimed at protecting the similar interests of persons who purchased a vehicle in another country of the European Union. With regard to that claim, the District Court found that it had no jurisdiction on the basis of Article 8(1) Brussels I Regulation Recast due to a lack of a sufficiently close connection. Nor can jurisdiction with regard to that claim be derived from Article 7(2) Brussels I Regulation Recast; the place of the act (handlungsort) and the place where the damage occurred (erfolgsort) is not located in the Netherlands, according to the District Court.
The District Court subsequently gave an opinion on the applicability of the WAMCA. The WAMCA applies if the claim is lodged after 1 January 2020 and the harmful event or events occurred on or after 15 November 2016. The District Court finds that the initial, common and essential harmful event to which the legal claim and the proceedings pertain is, in this case, the putting in place of the illegal manipulation tool. That is why, according to the District Court, Article 3:305a (old) DCC applies in this case.