Product Criticism Defamation And Liability
LexInter | October 23, 2005 | 0 Comments

Product Criticism Defamation And Liability

FRENCH REPUBLIC
IN THE NAME OF THE FRENCH PEOPLE

IN THE NAME OF THE FRENCH PEOPLE

THE COURT OF CASSATION, SECOND CIVIL CHAMBER, delivered the following judgment:

On the sole means:

Considering articles 1382 of the Civil Code and 29 of the law of July 29, 1881;

Whereas assessments, even excessive, affecting the products, services or services of an industrial or commercial company do not come within the provisions of article 29 of the law of July 29, 1881, as long as they do not concern not the natural or legal person;

Whereas, according to the judgment under appeal, the daily Liberation published, in its edition of 18/19 December 1999, an article entitled “Gueules de bois au champagne” announcing the broadcast on television of a documentary devoted to the history, the making and the economy of the wine of Champagne, in which it was written: “The documentary thus suggests that all the champagne is produced only from local grapes. Yet it has been a long time since the winegrowers of the Côte d’Or, among others, supply (at a high price) their Champagne colleagues with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.Not a word either on the borderline commercial practices of certain large houses which, in times of high demand,market under their label bottles of random quality purchased from small producers “; that following the publication of this article, the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wines (CIVC), whose mission is to protect the interests of collectives of professionals participating in the production and marketing of Champagne wines, considering that this statement denigrated Champagne wine assigned the SARL Liberation, MX .., director of the publication, and MY .., signatory of the article , in liability, on the basis of article 1382 of the Civil Code;ensure the protection of the collective interests of professionals involved in the production and marketing of Champagne wines, considering that this statement denigrated Champagne wine, appealed to SARL Liberation, MX .., director of the publication, and MY .., signatory of the article, in liability, on the basis of article 1382 of the Civil Code;ensure the protection of the collective interests of professionals involved in the production and marketing of Champagne wines, considering that this statement denigrated Champagne wine, appealed to SARL Liberation, MX .., director of the publication, and MY .., signatory of the article, in liability, on the basis of article 1382 of the Civil Code;

Whereas to dismiss the CIVC from its action, the judgment retains that if the published text can be the seat of a denigration of the product “Champagne”, it is analyzed mainly and essentially in the affirmation of a deception to which the winegrowers of Champagne participate, that such an allegation of deception capable of a debate and of a proof constitutes the imputation of a fact undermining the honor and the consideration of the winegrowers of Champagne, that it s ‘This is a defamation provided for exclusively by the law on the press, that the abuses of freedom of expression provided for and punished by the law of July 29, 1881 cannot be remedied on the basis of article 1382 of the Civil Code ;

That by ruling thus, while the incriminated remarks related to the criticism of a product and did not implicate any physical or moral person determined, the Court of Appeal violated the aforementioned texts;

FOR THESE REASONS :

BREAK AND CANCELED, in all its provisions, the judgment rendered on June 27, 2002, between the parties, by the Paris Court of Appeal;

returns, consequently, the cause and the parts in the state where they were before the aforementioned judgment and, to be done right, returns them before the court of appeal of Paris, otherwise composed;

Condemns the company Liberation, Mr X …, ès qualities, and MY … at the costs;

Considering article 700 of the new Code of Civil Procedure, rejects the request of the company Liberation and MM. X …, ex officio, and Y …; condemns them, in solidum, to pay the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine the sum of 2,500 euros;

Said that on the due diligence of the Attorney General near the Court of Cassation, this judgment will be transmitted to be transcribed on the sidelines or following the broken judgment;

Thus done and judged by the Court of Cassation, Second Civil Chamber, and pronounced by the President in his public hearing on October 7, two thousand and four.

 

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