On behalf of the team

On 15 April 2021, European Advocate General Giovanni Pitruzella issued an Opinion in one of the many truck cases,[1] specifically that of the Spanish company Sumal S.L. v. Mercedes Benz Trucks España S.L., a Daimler subsidiary. Although the Spanish truck company was not mentioned in the European Commission’s decision of 19 July 2016 in which a fine was imposed on Daimler, Suma S.L. took the view that liability towards it could also be imputed because Mercedes Benz Trucks España S.L. formed a single economic unit with the parent company.[2] It is a generally accepted doctrine that a parent company can be liable for anti-competitive conduct by a subsidiary if they together form an ‘economic unit’. This is termed ‘bottom-up liability’. Advocate General Pitruzzella concluded that, if such an economic unit exists and the subsidiary contributed substantially to the infringement, ‘top-down liability’ is also possible.

[1]              Advocate General G. Pitruzella, 15 April 2021, case C-882/19.

[2]              See here for all European Commission documents in the case AT.39824 Trucks v. Daimler et al..