Court of Appeal upholds verdict in lawsuit between Vinasun and Grab

March 11, 2020 | 10:14
On March 10, the Supreme People's Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City issued the verdict to the prolonged debate between Vinasun and Grab Vietnam. The trial panel rejected the procuracy’s protests as well as both companies’ appeals to uphold the first-instance verdict awarding damages to Vinasun.
court of appeal upholds verdict in lawsuit between vinasun and grab
The appeal court was hearing the case between Vinasun and Grab

After a heated debate, the representative of the Supreme People's Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City made several comments. Accordingly, the prosecutor’s office said that Grab’s business is licensed by a competent authority. The new business model is implemented in five localities. The pilot programme under Decision No.24/QD-BGTVTprovides the legal grounds to define Grab.

“Grab’s business activities are legal. Therefore, the court of first instance's claim that Grab is a transport business is groundless,” the procuracy claimed, adding that the slump in Vinasun’s earnings can be attributable to several factors including governance, management, service quality, technology, and customers’ changing demand, among others. Therefore, there is no causal link between Grab’s operations and Vinasun’s damages.

Based on these arguments, the representative of the prosecutor’s office said that it was baseless for the first instance court to order Grab to pay VND4.8 billion ($208,700) in damages (incurred from idle vehicles) to Vinasun.

As the appeal court, the Supreme People's Procuracy of Ho Chi Minh City concluded that Grab was not in fact in violation of the law and requested the trial panel to accept Grab's appeal and dismiss Vinasun's appeal. However, the trial panel rejected the procuracy’s protests as well as both the plaintiff and the defendant’s appeals, upholding the first-instance verdict.

The trial panel said that at the appeal court Vinasun continued to request VND42 billion ($1.83 million) in compensation without providing any new evidence. At the same time, the court was of the opinion that Grab was one of the reasons behind Vinasun’s damages. The appeal court dismissed the procuracy’s protest as well as both Vinasun and Grab’s appeals. It kept the first instance verdict and the VND4.8 billion ($207,294) compensation payable by Grab to Vinasun.

After the end of the hearing, Nguyen Thai Hai Van, CEO of Grab Vietnam, called this a sad day for technology innovation in Vietnam. "We have closely followed all regulations under Decision 24 since the beginning days. The government’s move to extend this pilot programme by another two years reflects our good work," she said.

She noted that the verdict would not affect Grab’s operations in Vietnam. As ride-hailing businesses have been legalised under Decree No.10/2020/ND-CPfrom April 1, Grab hopes to expand operations in Vietnam.

At the end of 2018, the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City declared the first instance judgement that Grab would pay VND4.8 billion ($208,700) in compensation to Vinasun. The court said there was causal relationship between Vinasun's losses and Grab's business activities. However, the court noted that Grab is not the sole reason for the Vietnamese company’s losses. Both Grab and Vinasun have appealed against the judgment. Vinasun requested the appeal court to accept its compensation claims in full.

By Thanh Van

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