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Freeport Notes

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FREEPORT (2007) FACTS A company with which Mr Arnoldsson worked has, since 1996, carried out, 'factory shop' retail centre development projects in various places in Europe. Freeport acquired a number of those projects from that company, in particular the most advanced of them, in Kungsbacka (Sweden). At a meeting on 11 August 1999 between Mr Arnoldsson and the managing director of Freeport, an oral agreement was concluded between them that the former would personally receive a GBP 500 000 success fee when the Kungsbacka factory shop opened. Inaugurated on 15 November 2001, the Kungsbacka factory shop is owned by a company incorporated under Swedish law, Freeport Leisure (Sweden) AB ('Freeport AB'), which manages it. The company is held by one of Freeport's subsidiaries, of which Freeport AB is a wholly owned subsidiary. Mr Arnoldsson has asked both Freeport AB and Freeport to pay the fee on which he agreed with Freeport. Freeport AB refused the request on the ground that it is not a party to the agreement and that, furthermore, it did not exist when the agreement was concluded. Since he had still not received payment, on 5 February 2003 Mr Arnoldsson brought an action before the Göteborgs tingsrätt (Göteborg District Court) seeking an order against both companies jointly to pay him the sum of GBP 500 000 or its equivalent in Swedish currency, together with interest. The action against Freeport had a contractual basis, whereas the action against Freeport AB was based in tort, delict or quasi-delict, since there was no contractual relationship between Mr Arnoldsson and that company. QUESTION Whether Article 6(1) of that regulation applies where actions brought against a number of defendants before the courts for the place where any one of them is domiciled have different legal bases. HOLDING It is not apparent from the wording of Article 6(1) of Regulation No 44/2001 that the conditions laid down for application of that provision include a requirement that the actions brought against different defendants should have identical legal bases.

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