Une entreprise espagnole avait acquis cinq camions auprès d’un concessionnaire dont le constructeur a été condamné avec 14 autres par une décision de la Commission du 19 juillet 2016 au titre d’une entente. Elle a, à la suite de cette condamnation, assigné en réparation de son préjudice Volvo (Göteborg, Suède), Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe (Ismaning, Allemagne), Volvo Lastvagnar (Göteborg) et Volvo Group España (Madrid, Espagne) devant le tribunal de Madrid, bien que son siège soit situé à Cordoue, lieu où elle avait acquis les camions. Les défenderesses ont alors contesté la compétence internationale de la juridiction espagnole au motif que le « lieu où le fait dommageable s’est produit ou risque de se produire » visé à l’article 7, point 2, du règlement no 1215/2012 est le lieu de l’évènement causal, en l’occurrence le lieu où l’entente sur les camions a été conclue, et non le lieu du domicile de la requérante au principal. Or, comme l’entente n’a pas été conclue en Espagne, la juridiction espagnole n’est pas compétente. Une question préjudicielle a été posée à la Cour de Justice.
La Cour a jugé qu’il « résulte de la décision du 19 juillet 2016 que l’infraction constatée à l’article 101 TFUE, à l’origine du dommage allégué, s’étendait à l’ensemble du marché de l’EEE et a donc emporté une distorsion de concurrence dans ce marché. Dans ces conditions, il y a lieu de considérer que le lieu de la matérialisation de ce dommage, aux fins de l’application de l’article 7, point 2, du règlement no 1215/2012, se trouve dans ledit marché, dont fait partie l’Espagne (voir, par analogie, arrêt du 29 juillet 2019, Tibor-Trans, C‑451/18, EU:C:2019:635, points 32 et 33,) (CJUE, 15 juillet 2021, RH contre AB Volvo, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Lastvagnar AB, Volvo Group España SA, C‑30/20, point 31).
Il convient de rappeler que la Cour a par ailleurs décidé que « dans le contexte d’une action en réparation de dommages causés par des arrangements contraires à l’article 101 TFUE, et consistant en des surcoûts payés en raison d’un prix artificiellement élevé, la Cour a jugé que le lieu de matérialisation du dommage n’est identifiable que pour chaque prétendue victime prise individuellement et se trouvera, en principe, au siège social de celle-ci (voir, en ce sens, arrêt du 21 mai 2015, CDC Hydrogen Peroxide, C‑352/13, EU:C:2015:335, point 52) » (CJUE, 15 juillet 2021, RH contre AB Volvo, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Lastvagnar AB, Volvo Group España SA, C‑30/20, point 41).
Dans son arrêt du 15 juillet 2021, elle a encore admis qu’: « Il ressort de la jurisprudence de la Cour que, lorsqu’est en cause l’achat d’un bien ayant, à la suite d’une manipulation effectuée par son producteur, une valeur amoindrie, la juridiction compétente pour connaître d’une action aux fins de réparation du dommage correspondant aux surcoûts payés par l’acheteur est celle du lieu d’acquisition du bien (voir, en ce sens, arrêt du 9 juillet 2020, Verein für Konsumenteninformation, C‑343/19, EU:C:2020:534, points 37 et 40).» (CJUE, 15 juillet 2021, RH contre AB Volvo, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Lastvagnar AB, Volvo Group España SA, C‑30/20, point 39).
Finalement, elle juge que « L’article 7, point 2, du règlement (UE) no 1215/2012 du Parlement européen et du Conseil, du 12 décembre 2012, concernant la compétence judiciaire, la reconnaissance et l’exécution des décisions en matière civile et commerciale, doit être interprété en ce sens que, au sein du marché affecté par des arrangements collusoires sur la fixation et l’augmentation des prix de biens, est internationalement et territorialement compétente pour connaître, au titre du lieu de la matérialisation du dommage, d’une action en réparation du dommage causé par ces arrangements contraires à l’article 101 TFUE soit la juridiction dans le ressort de laquelle l’entreprise s’estimant lésée a acheté les biens affectés par lesdits arrangements, soit, en cas d’achats effectués par cette entreprise dans plusieurs lieux, la juridiction dans le ressort de laquelle se trouve le siège social de celle-ci. »
L’un des points intéressants de cet arrêt est de préciser que l’article 7 § 2 du règlement attribue directement et immédiatement tant la compétence internationale que la compétence territoriale à la juridiction du lieu où est survenu le dommage et que les Etats ne peuvent modifier cette compétence territoriale interne, même si la délimitation du ressort de la juridiction au sein duquel se situe le lieu de la matérialisation du dommage, au sens de cette disposition, relève, en principe, de la compétence organisationnelle de l’État membre auquel cette juridiction appartient. (CJUE, 15 juillet 2021, RH contre AB Volvo, Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Lastvagnar AB, Volvo Group España SA, C‑30/20, point 33 et 40).
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