Room to Sue Anew After Plastic Bag Cartel Appeal

     LUXEMBOURG (CN) – The Court of Justice of the European Union dismissed appeals Tuesday from three companies fined a combined $77 million for participating in a cartel in the industrial plastic bags sector.
     Kendrion NV faces a $46 million fine; Groupe Gascogne SA was fined $13.3 million; and Sachsa Verpackung GmbH, now Gascogne Sack Deutschland GmbH, was fined $17 million.
     Though they lost their appeals, the companies do have a chance to bring actions seeking damages connected to the excessive length of the proceedings before the General Court.
     “In the present case, the length of the proceedings before the General Court, which amounted to approximately 5 years and 9 months, cannot be justified by any of the circumstances in connection with those cases,” the court of Justice said in a statement accompanying its three rulings (emphasis in original). “The excessive length of the proceedings cannot be explained by the complexity of the dispute, the conduct of the parties or the specific features of the procedures. Accordingly, the court concludes that the procedures in the General Court breached the right of the parties to have their case heard within a reasonable time conferred on them by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The court also notes that the breach of that right is sufficiently serious and may therefore give rise to liability on the part of the European Union for the damage arising therefrom.”

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