The Netherlands

On behalf of the team

On 30 March 2022, the Amsterdam District Court rendered judgment in the case of Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice versus FCA et al. [1]Amsterdam District Court 30 March 2022, ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2022:1541 In this dispute, the foundation is claiming, inter alia, damages from FCA et al. because it manufactured and sold diesel cars with cheating software. In this judgment, the District Court rendered a decision on jurisdiction and applicability of the WAMCA.

Because this dispute contains international aspects (defendants domiciled in various EU countries), the District Court must assess of its own motion whether it has jurisdiction to assess the substance of the claims. FCA N.V. (parent company), FCA NL and the dealers are all domiciled in the Netherlands. Consequently, there is no international connection for the legal claims instituted by the foundation that serve to protect the persons residing in the Netherlands. The legal claims instituted by the foundation that serve to protect persons who are not resident in the Netherlands do, however, involve an international aspect. Since FCA N.V., FCA NL and the Dealers are domiciled in the Netherlands, the international jurisdiction of the Dutch court in this respect is based on Article 4(1) Brussels I Regulation Recast. The international jurisdiction of the Dutch court with respect to FCA Italy and Alfa Romeo (domiciled in Italy) must also be determined based on the Brussels I Regulation Recast. According to the District Court’s opinion, jurisdiction can be derived with regard to FCA Italy and Alfa Romeo on the basis of Article 8(1) Brussels I Regulation Recast because FCA N.V. can be qualified as anchor defendant; the claims against the various defendants are sufficiently related, whereby it was not unforeseeable for FCA Italy and Alfa Romeo that they would be summoned in the Netherlands, since this is the country where their parent company has its registered office. The District Court therefore declares that it has jurisdiction with regard to all defendants.

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 development of the illegal manipulation tool. According to the District Court, it has not been sufficiently asserted or demonstrated that this activity also took place after 15 November 2016, as a result of which Article 3:305a (old) DCC applies in this case.