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France 2 October 2001 Supreme Court (Lombard v. Cofranca) (Horse meat case) [translation available]
[Cite as: http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cases/011002f1.html]

Primary source(s) of information for case presentation: Case text

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Case identification

DATE OF DECISION: 20011002 (2 October 2001)


TRIBUNAL: Cour de Cassation [Supreme Court]

JUDGE(S): Lemontey, président; Ancel, conseiller rapporteur; Renard-Payen, conseiller; Petit, avocat général; Collet, greffier

CASE NUMBER/DOCKET NUMBER: B 99-13.461, Arrêt no. 1436 F-P

CASE NAME: Société Lombard et al. v. Cofranca Import Export Inc.

CASE HISTORY: 1st instance Tribunal d’Instance de Paris 14 February 1996; 2d instance Cour d'appel de Paris 10 February 1999 [remanded]

SELLER'S COUNTRY: Canada (defendants)

BUYER'S COUNTRY: France (plaintiffs)


Classification of issues present

APPLICATION OF CISG: The Appellate Court had ruled sua sponte that the CISG applies. The Supreme Court remanded the case for a hearing to permit the parties to present arguments on that point and on the manner in which the defendants are alleged to have violated that text.


Key CISG provisions at issue: Articles 1 ; 2(a) ; 35

Classification of issues using UNCITRAL classification code numbers:


Descriptors: Unavailable

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Editorial remarks

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Citations to case abstracts, texts, and commentaries


(a) UNCITRAL abstract: Unavailable

(b) Other abstracts

English: Unilex database <http://www.unilex.info/case.cfm?pid=1&do=case&id=743&step=Abstract>


Original language (French): CISG - France website <http://Witz.jura.uni-sb.de/CISG/decisions/021001v.htm>; see also Unilex database <http://www.unilex.info/case.cfm?pid=1&do=case&id=743&step=FullText>

Translation (English): Text presented below


French: Sinay-Cytermann, 123 Gazette du Palais (2003) 234-239

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Case text (English translation) [second draft]

Queen Mary Case Translation Programme

Supreme Court 2 October 2001

Lombard and Confranca v. Boucherie Debeaux, Ets. Barbaud et al.

Translation by Charles Sant 'Elia [*]


In the name of the French People

M. LEMONTEY, président
Ruling no. 1436 F-P
Appeal no. B 99-13.461

THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS, First Civil Chamber, has rendered the following judgment :

ON THE APPEAL brought by:

10/ the Canadian general insurance company Lombard, formerly named Compagnie d'assurance continental Canada, whose headquarters is 2001, rue University, 113A 2A6, Montréal (Québec),
20/ the Cofranca Import Export Inc company, having its headquarters at Yamachiche 210 Canton Sud, Québec, Canada Gox 3LO, represented by Cabinet Raymond Chabot-Fafard-Gagnon Inc, bankruptcy assignee of Cofranca, whose headquarters is Tour de la Banque Nationale 600, rue de la Gauchetière Ouest Bureau 1900 Montréal (Québec) H3B 4L8,

reversing a ruling entered on 10 February 1999 by the Court of Appeals of Paris (8th Civil Chamber, section D), in favor of :


defendants on the appeal;

The defendants invoke, in support of their appeal, the two grounds of reversal annexed to the present ruling;

THE COURT, composed pursuant to article L. 131-6, paragraph 2, of the Code de l'organisation judiciaire, at the public hearing of 3 July 2001, where were present:

Mr. Lemontey, président, Mr. Ancel, reporter conseiller, Mr. Renard-Payen, conseiller, Mrs. Petit, attorney general, Mrs. Collet, chamber clerk ;

On the report of Mr. Ancel, conseiller, the observations of Maître Copper-Royer, attorney for the Compagnie canadienne d'assurances générales Lombard and for the Cofranca Import Export Inc company, of the SCP Bachellier et Potier de la Varde, attorneys for Boucherie Debeaux, of the SCP Parmentier et Didier, attorneys for Compagnie d'assurances Elvia Assurances, to whose rights comes Allianz, of Maître Odent, attorney for the Etablissements Barbaud, the briefs of Mrs. Petit, attorney general, and after having deliberated upon them in accordance with the law ;

WHEREAS, the importation into France from Québec, on 7 November 1993, of horse flesh, which proved to be contaminated, provoked an epidemic of trichinosis; that, on the action of victims of that epidemic, the challenged ruling ordered the importer, the French company Boucherie Debeaux, the distributor, the French company Barbaud, and the supplier, the Quebec company Cofranca, this latter by application of Article 35(1) of the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods of 11 April 1980 [CISG], to indemnify the victims;

On the second grounds, taken in its four branches, hereafter annexed:

WHEREAS, one is dealing with an international sales contract formed between nationals of States parties to the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods of 11 April 1980 [CISG], the Court of Appeals has rightly held that the disputed sale was governed by that Convention by operation of its Articles 1 and 2(a); that this sole reason justifies the challenged decision as far as regards the applicable law, independently of the superabundant reasons criticized in the appeal ;

But on the first grounds, in light of Article 16 of the new Code of Civil Procedure:

WHEREAS, the Court of Appeals made sua sponte application of the Vienna Convention of 11 April 1980 [CISG], without inviting the parties to a hearing and argument on that point ;

by which it violated the abovementioned text ;


-     QUASHES AND NULLIFIES, in all of its provisions, the ruling entered on 10 February 1999, between the parties, by the Court of Appeals of Paris;
-     RESTORES, as a consequence, the suit and the parties to the state in which they were before the said ruling and, to so grant the demand, remands them before the Court of Appeals of Paris, otherwise composed;
-     ORDERS the defendants liable for court costs;

In light of Article 700 of the new Code of Civil Procedure,

-     REJECTS the demands;
-     HOLDS that on the actions of the attorney-general before [this] Court, the present ruling shall be transmitted to be transcribed in the margin or following the quashed judgment;

SO DONE AND ADJUDGED by the Supreme Court of Appeals, First Civil Chamber, and announced by the président at its public hearing of the second of October two thousand one.


* Charles Sant 'Elia has a B.A. in Political Science and Italian Literature from New York University and studied Political Science at the Universitá degli Studi di Firenze. He received his J.D. from Pace University School of Law and is admitted to the Bar of the States of New York and Connecticut. In addition to translations of French case texts for the cisgw3 database, he has translated Italian decisions and texts on linguistics into English.

All translations should be verified by cross-checking against the original text.

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Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated March 12, 2004
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