January 15, 2016
Previously published on January 12, 2016
The Landgericht Dsseldorf (Regional Court of Dsseldorf) has strengthened the rights of commercial agents with a view to their entitlement to seek compensation (partial judgment of August 28, 2015, Az.: 33 O 119/12).
GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London – www.grprainer.com/en conclude: The Landgericht Dsseldorf has strengthened the rights of commercial agents in a decision which is not yet final. The decisive factor when calculating claims for compensation is the benefits accrued by the company in connection with the client relationships established by the agent. The LG Dsseldorf has now ruled that commercial agents are also entitled to information from the supplier concerning the profit contributions achieved in order to calculate the compensatory claim. It was previously common practice to calculate the commercial benefits on the basis of the commission generated from new clients in the last contract year.
In the case before the LG Dsseldorf, a dispute had arisen between a retired agent and the supplier concerning the compensation claim. The agent requested, among other things, information regarding realised profit contributions in the last contract year from the sale of equipment, spare parts and consumables as well as from concluded maintenance contracts.
The LG Dsseldorf considered this request to be justified, stating that commercial agents are entitled to information which is pertinent to their claim. The Court went on to say that the loss of commission is only one of various relevant factors when calculating claims for compensation, because the company can continue to benefit from the client relationships established by the commercial agent. The LG explained that this means the right to information necessarily extends to the commercial benefits which are unknown to the commercial agent, as these may represent a prerequisite of his claim for compensation following the European Court of Justices ruling of March 26, 2009. The LG has given leave to appeal.
A well though-out contractual arrangement is equally essential for both companies and commercial agents in order to prevent legal disputes from arising at a later date. Lawyers who are competent in the field of commercial law can advise companies and commercial agents when drafting agency agreements, drawing up resulting claims and terminating contracts.