On 3 March 2014, the Milan Court of Appeal overturned a previous decision issued by the Milan Tribunal, declaring a class action brought by an Italian consumers association, Altroconsumo, against local railway operator Trenord as non-admissible.
On 8 November 2013, the Milan Tribunal had dismissed the class action started by Altroconsumo on the grounds inter alia, that passengers had not suffered homogeneous damages.
Following the appeal against the order of the Milan Tribunal, in its judgment of 3 March 2014, the Milan Court of Appeal found that, while assessing the admissibility of a class action, the judge cannot pretend that the damages suffered by consumers shall be exactly the same, otherwise, the chances of filing a class action would be reduced to zero.
Therefore, according to the Milan Court of Appeal, it would be sufficient that the rights of customers are homogeneous, while different damages suffered by consumers are at the basis of the quantification of the compensation.
If confirmed, such wider interpretation of the admissibility requirements might make it easier for consumer associations to file class actions against companies active in Italy.
Giorgio Santoro, Stagiaire in the Rome office has also contributed to this article.