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Case Details

Case Details
National ID No. 5361/04
Member State Italy
Common Name link
Decision type Other
Decision date 03/01/2005
Court Giudice di pace (Others, Napoli)
Subject
Plaintiff
Defendant
Keywords

Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 2 Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 3, 1.

The Giudice di Pace di Pozzuoli stated that a cartel in breach of competition rules may damage the economic interests of the consumers, whether or not they are competitors of the collusive members of the cartel.
Accordingly with article 33(2) of the Law 10 October 1990 no. 287 the Corte di Appello - and not the Giudice di Pace - had the necessary competence to decide the matter.
The Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato sanctioned in 2000 a cartel between a large number of competing insurance companies holding that they had had infringed the article 2 of the Law 10 October 1990 no. 287, which echoed Art. 81 CE, by entering into a complex horizontal agreement aimed at the “extended and pervading” exchange of strategic, sensitive, commercial information (e.g. on price of premiums and terms and conditions of insurance agreements).
As a consequence of the above, the plaintiff sued the insurance company before the Giudice di Pace di Pozzuoli, relying on the AGCM assertion that the cartel had gained a large premium advantage by its anticompetitive acts.
The insurer asserted a defence by invoking the exception of jurisdictional incompetence relying on article 33(2) of the Law 10 October 1990 no. 287.
It claimed that only the Corte di Appello, and not the Giudice di Pace, had the necessary competence to decide the matter.
The Giudice di Pace di Pozzuoli agreed with the defendant that the Corte di Appello is competent to decide in this case.
The Giudice di Pace di Pozzuoli agreed that a cartel in breach of competition rules may also damage the economic interests of private parties, whether or not they are competitors of the collusive members of the cartel.
Consumers, as the final purchasers of the marketed product, thereby completing the production and distribution chain, are affected directly by an unlawful agreement which eliminates the consumers’ right to choose effectively among competitive products.
The judge also stated that, according to Article 33(2) of the Law 10 October 1990 no. 287, the Corte di Appello is solely competent to hear claims based upon national competition law, independently of the amount of damages claimed and of the nature of the plaintiff.
So, for competition issues, the Corte di Appello serves as sole arbiter of all issues of fact or law, its decisions are binding and not subject to judicial review other than by appeal to the Corte di Cassazione.
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