No horsing around. Den Bosch court of appeal on the non-recognition of US punitive damages.

Many thanks Haco van der Houven van Oordt for flagging an (anonymised) judgment by the Den Bosch Court of Appeal, in which it refused to recognise the punitive damages element of a US (Tennessee) judgment. Damages had been awarded after a horse trainer based in The Netherlands, who had been tasked to look after and train the horse of the US based claimant, had subsequently been tasked to sell the horse and in doing so hid part of the sale price from the owner. Half a million dollar was awarded, of which exactly half in punitive damages.

The judge follows the Gazprom criteria for recognition and enforcement in The Netherlands and only objected to the punitive damages element. A bid by claimants (heirs of the meanwhile deceased owner) to argue recoverability of a chunk of the punitive damages slice, arguing that it was compensation for lawyers’ fees in the US proceedings, failed: the Dutch held that costs compensation are not ordinarily part of the punitive element of the damages and that transcripts of the US judgment and proceedings certainly did not reveal any trace of that argument.

Not an extraordinary judgment. But an instructional one.

Geert.

 

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