If due to the carrier’s fault who breaches his deadlines obligations, you fail to reply on time to an invitation to bid, his limitation of liability can be invoked unless you demonstrate gross negligence

The carrier in its advertising had undertaken to deliver in Paris, Friday afternoon, an envelope which had been handed to him the day before. Having failed to deliver on the contractual deadline, his liability was not held nevertheless, even though the time delay prevented the company to participate in a bidding process, the bidding documents having arrived after closure.

The client company started action against the carrier for payment of damages due to the loss of opportunity to win a supply bid. In his defense the latter raised its limitation of liability as provided by the standard contract applicable to transportation operations and approved by the n°99-269 dated Avril 6 1999 Decree.

The Court of Appeals held the carrier’s liability on the grounds that the latter failed to comply with the terms of his advertising documents and that the envelope which the company had  handed to him for delivery clearly mentioned that it contained an invitation to file for submission to bid, which therefore required urgent delivery.

The Supreme Court in its July12 2016 decision (n°14-20906), overturns the lower Court decision by holding that on the contrary these grounds were  not in any way characteristic of gross negligence since in order to have such characteristic this misconduct must be “ willful which implies the knowledge that this damage could occur together with its reckless acceptation without justification

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