Proceedings regarding additional financing contributions for Stuttgart 21
At the end of 2016, in order to avoid risks under the statute of limitations, we initiated proceedings in the Stuttgart Administrative Court against our project partners seeking additional financing contributions on the basis of what is known as the negotiation clause. The project partners gave a comprehensive response to the lawsuit in Spring 2018. The court granted DB Group the opportunity to state its position by the end of February 2019 in response to the statement of defense. A verbal negotiation regarding the lawsuit is not anticipated until the second half of 2019 at the earliest. This is also due to the fact that the project partner will be given the option to provide a written response to the statement of defense before the verbal negotiations.
Civil proceedings on infrastructure usage fees
According to a ruling by the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof; BGH) in 2011, fees for the use of rail infrastructure could be reviewed by the civil courts for fairness under legislation prevailing before the entry into force of the Railway Regulation Act (Eisenbahnregulierungsgesetz; ERegG), according to the standard set out in section 315 of the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch; BGB), even if BNetzA did not object to the fees and they were effective according to regulatory law. In 2016, the ERegG created legal certainty by introducing approval of train-path and station-use charges by BNetzA and legally excluding a parallel review of approved charges by the civil courts on the basis of proceedings under section 315 BGB.
However, a number of legal disputes between DB Netz AG, DB Station&Service AG, and TOC or public transport authorities or Federal states continue to be based on the previous legal situation.
Lawsuit by the Federal state of Saxony-Anhalt
The Federal state of Saxony-Anhalt filed a lawsuit against DB Netz AG, DB Regio AG and DB AG claiming compensation for damages under antitrust law due to allegedly illegal train-path pricing by DB Netz AG through the levying of regional factors between 2005 and 2011. The lawsuit was extended to include the assertion of corresponding claims against DB Regio AG for 2003 and 2004. DB Group opposed this lawsuit in every respect. For its part, DB Regio AG is suing the Federal state of Saxony-Anhalt for reimbursement of outstanding transport contract-related receivables relating to increased infrastructure utilization costs between 2008 and 2014. The Federal state has offset its alleged claims for compensation under antitrust law for 2003 and 2004 against the receivables owing to DB Regio AG. The ruling of the ECJ on the non-applicability of section 315 BGB has improved our prospects of success in both cases. By the ruling of November 8, 2018, the Frankfurt State Court (Landgericht Frankfurt am Main) entirely rejected the claim of the Federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. The ruling is not yet legally binding. It remains to be seen as to when a decision will be made regarding the proceedings initiated by DB Regio AG.