Cour de cassation Chambre Commerciale Case Cigna Insurance Company of Europe v Transgous et al
30 June 2004
Translated by:
J. Trevor Brown
Professor B. S. Markesinis

Concerning the only ground :

In view of Articles 1150 of the Civil Code and 23 and 29 of the Geneva Convention of 19 May 1956 relating to international contracts of carriage goods by road (“the Convention”);
Given that, according to the judgement, (a) Transport Vallaeys, a corporation (“Vallaeys”), to whom Chanel had entrusted the transport of leather goods from Milan (Italy) to Paris, entered into a subcontract with Sotrade, a corporation, which entrusted the carriage to Trangous, a corporation; (b) the lorry with its load was stolen near to Milan while it was parked on the parking area of a commercial centre; and (c) Cigna indemnified Chanel for its loss, and, thus subrogated in the rights of the latter, brought suit against Trangous and its insurer, Axa Marine Aviation Transports and Vallaeys to make good the loss;

Given that, in order to exclude the gross negligence (“faute lourde”) of the carrier and to apply the limitation of liability contained in the Convention, the judgement limits itself to holding that after having loaded the cargo and driven for an hour, the carrier parked his vehicle on the parking area of an Italian commercial centre for a very short period and at an extremely busy time in order to make certain purchases after locking the doors and blocking the steering wheel;

Given that in coming to its conclusion in that way, without enquiring whether, as a professional, the carrier could be unaware of the risks run by carriers in Italy, as well as the recommendations of insurers and the profession to park vehicles carrying goods only in guarded parking areas, and whether, in spite of these warnings, the driver could not have avoided parking his vehicle, loaded with valuable goods, on the parking area of an Italian commercial centre in order to make purchases instead of making them before taking to the road, the Appeal Court did not give a legal basis for its decision;


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