The transport company was responsible for the theft of goods
The transport company DSV Road A/S has been ordered to pay compensation for the loss suffered by Lego System A/S during transport from the Czech Republic to England.
Lego had held DSV responsible for the loss of goods, but DSV had denied the claim. Lego then filed a lawsuit and DSV sought acquittal. Lego’s main request was that DSV should pay approximately £84,500 and the substitute request that DSV should pay SDR 39,000.
Taking into account the transport agreement between Lego and DSV, DSV was to take over the transport of Lego toys to England. DSV had signed a contract with a Czech transport company for transport from the Czech Republic to England. The goods were picked up in Jirny, Czech Republic on November 1st and were to be delivered to Tesco Stores Ltd. to be delivered in England on November 3rd.
The driver explained that his intention was to go straight to the delivery point, but he was delayed due to traffic, necessitating an overnight stay. The driver took a break at a rest area during the night. It was illuminated and monitored by video cameras. During his sleep most of the goods were stolen. The driver had heard nothing. He was convinced that he had been drugged and therefore did not hear the thieves. He had reported the theft and a police report was drawn up. He had told police he suspected he had been drugged, but he was not tested.
If the driver’s testimony is correct, it was a robbery. In this case, DSV Road A/S would not be responsible for the loss.
However, based on the facts of the case, the Maritime and Commercial Court was of the opinion that the driver’s statement alone cannot prove that a robbery had taken place. Because the driver’s statement was not supported by other evidence, the transport company had failed to prove that the goods were lost in a robbery. Accordingly, the transport company was responsible for the loss of the goods.
The next question was whether there was gross negligence. The transport agreement has been made between two professional parties; they had great knowledge of freight transport. According to the Maritime and Commercial Court, it has not been established that the Lego toy was particularly vulnerable to theft and Lego had not given specific instructions for transportation. Lego also hadn’t given any specific instructions about staying at rest stops. Finally, the rest area met the security measures that had been agreed between the parties.
Against this background, the Maritime and Commercial Court had ruled that there was no gross negligence. However, the Maritime and Commercial Court had agreed with Lego regarding the replacement application and ordered DSV to pay Lego 39,000 SDR plus costs and interest.
The above article is written by lawyer Anders Stig Vestergaard.