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Autonomous action of compensation: exceed the requirement of redemptive or estimated action

The admissibility of an action for repair of latent defects does not necessarily require the exercise of a redhibitory or estimative action. This means that individuals or companies can bring a separate and independent action for compensation for damages suffered as a result of latent defects,  without  the need for a specific redhibitory or estimative action.

In one particular case, a company filed a claim for damages to cover repair work necessitated by latent defects in a machine it had purchased. Importantly, the company did not  concurrently pursue  a redemptive or estimative action.

The admissibility of the independent action for compensation for latent defects

However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the company’s claims, saying the action for damages was merely complementary and incidental to the redhibitory or appraising actions, rather than a stand-alone claim. The commercial chamber, by a judgment of June 19, 2012, reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal, invoking article 1645 of the civil code.

This decision is significant because it specifies that an independent action for the repair of redhibitory defects can be pursued independently, distinct from redhibitory or estimative actions. It emphasizes that such an action for damages neither replaces nor imposes the simultaneous exercise of redhibitory or estimative actions.

An interesting aspect of this solution is the different limitation periods. The limitation period for redhibitory or appraising actions is two years from the discovery of the defect. However, the action for compensation for damages resulting from latent defects follows the general prescription of common law.

Civil lawyers, such as Grégory Damy, underline the importance of this judgment in clarifying the admissibility and procedure of actions for compensation for latent defects. It ensures that individuals and companies have the opportunity to seek appropriate compensation for damages suffered, even if they have not brought a redemptive or estimative action within the time limit.

By recognizing the autonomous nature of actions for damages, this judgment contributes to a fair and effective legal framework for remedying latent defects and protecting the rights of individuals and businesses affected by such issues.