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Case Details

Case Details
National ID no. 16954
Member State Italy
Common Name L. A. e A. A. v. Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A.
Decision type Other
Decision date 11/11/2003
Court Corte di cassazione (Supreme court)
Subject
Plaintiff
Defendant
Keywords

Package Travel Directive, Article 5, 2.

The decision of the Corte di cassazione no. 16954/2003 is a leading case on the application of the Legislative Decree 17 March 1995, no. 111 on package travel, package holidays and package tours.
The Corte di cassazione held that the consumers, who have lost the flight for the improper performance of the railway service and have been forced to buy another flight, are entitled to obtain damages from the Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A.
The plaintiffs sued the Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A. before the Justice of Peace of Rome by stating that, due to improper performance of the railway service from Rome to the Airport of Fiumicino (i.e. the train was late with respect to the schedule), they have lost their flight to Brussels.
As a consequence of the above, the plaintiffs have been forced to buy a later flight from another airline by paying the amount of 591.000 Euro.
The plaintiffs asked the judge to award damages for the improper performance of the defendant.
The defendant, Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A., asserted that, in any event, the damages should be limited to the tariffs for the railways transports established by the law (i.e. R.D.L. 1948/1934, L. 911/1935, D.L. 13/12/1956). It also affirmed that this was an exceptional event for that train that only covers the distance between the city centre and the airport.
The Justice of Peace agreed with the plaintiffs and thus the Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A. appealed such decision before the Corte di cassazione.
In appeal the Italian Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the Justice of Peace.
The decision is a leading case because it has established, for the first time, the responsibility of the Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A. when a consumer looses a flight at the airport for the improper performance of the railway service.
The Corte di cassazione has actually confirmed the motivation of the decision that the Justice of Peace of Rome has rendered “in equity” (i.e. “equità” - article 360, n. 5, Italian Code of Civil Procedure).
The Court has also discussed the legal nature of the Ferrovie dello Stato S.p.A, a public-owned company that has the monopoly on the railway services in Italy.
Accordingly to the judges, the agreement between the consumer and the company has a private nature and thus falls under the rules provided by the Italian Civil Code and particularly the provisions of the article 1681 of the Italian Civil Code.
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