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The year in review

In recent years, the railway company Trenord has been involved in different class action proceedings.

In particular, the most important was incepted on 25 August 2017 before the Court of Appeal of Milan, which issued a historical decision ordering Trenord to pay compensation of €300,000 as a result of the class action brought by Altroconsumo.

The claim arose from the inefficiencies suffered by the consumers for more than 15 days in December 2012, when Trenord was responsible for cancellation of trains, delays and lack of information, which caused damage to approximately 700,000 commuters.

In 2014, after four days of mobilisation, Altroconsumo had filed before the Court of Milan a class action that had been admitted on 3 March 2014.

In the first instance proceeding, the Court of Milan dismissed the class action. In particular, the Court recognised commuters' right to be compensated as a result of the delays occurred, however it considered that the automatic compensation offered by Trenord - equal to the 25 per cent of the monthly subscription's cost – was sufficient.

Altroconsumo appealed this decision. At the first stage, the Court of Appeal of Milan stated that the failures in Trenord's software management had to be assessed and compensated in a single proceeding. Consequently, the class actions promoted by the consumers' associations Codici and Codacons were to be consolidated with that one of Altroconsumo. Second, on 25 August 2017 the Court of Appeal of Milan overturned the decision of the Court of Milan ruling for a compensation of €100 for each member of the class action in addition to the automatic compensation already paid.

For sake of completeness, it is worth noting that in 2018 Trenord was again subject to a class action in relation to the difficulties faced by the consumers after a railway accident occurred in Pioltello in January 2018.

On that occasion, the Court of Milan upheld consumers' claims and the damages suffered; however, it considered the class action inadmissible as each of the commuters should have proved that he or she was actually on the train that was late and suffered damages. In addition, the Court of Milan ordered the commuters to pay €7,000 for legal costs. As a result of this surprising decision, the parties accepted Trenord's proposal, according to which they will waive the appeal upon a waiver by Trenord of the legal costs.