Court de cassation, Chambre Commerciale Application for Review No.02-17048 Case Axa Corporate Solutions Assurance et al v SA Transports Caillot
30 June 2004
Translated by:
J. Trevor Brown
Professor B. S. Markesinis

Concerning the only ground:

Given that, according to the judgement referred to us (Reims, 22 April 2002), that certain merchandise entrusted by Renault, a corporation, to Transports Caillot for carriage was destroyed during such carriage and that Renault brought suit against Transports Caillot for indemnification against its loss;

Given that Renault, and Axa Corporate Solutions, GAN Assurances, AGF MAT and Allianz France 92, the former’s insurers, criticise the judgement for limiting the damages due by Transports Caillot to the amount of 42,370 euros whereas, according to the ground, (i) gross negligence (“faute lourde”) is understood to be negligence of extreme gravuty approaching fraud and showing the incapacity of the carrier to perform the contractual mission it had accepted; (ii) in excluding gross negligence by the carrier after, however, finding that the traffic accident which was the cause of the loss resulted from the fact that the driver, a professional heavy vehicle driver, had fallen asleep or become drowsy at the wheel while he drove an articulated vehicle on a motorway on the way to Caen at 05.15 hours and had thus lost control of his vehicle which overturned on the road, the Appeal Court was in breach of Article 1150of the Civil Code and Articles L132-6 and L133-1 of the Commercial Code;

But given that (a) the judgement finds that (i) the drowsiness of the drover was not due to an external cause such as alcohol; (ii) the accident on a Tuesday when the driver, who had not driven during the preceding weekend had covered only 300 kilometres; and (iii) the atmospheric and traffic conditions were normal; (b) in the light of these findings the Appeal Court could hold, in the absence of any aggravating element, that the negligence (“faute”) could not amount to gross negligence (“faute lourde”); and (c)the ground has no basis;


REJECTS the application for review…………

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