Attorney-at-law Raini Nõu successfully represented a client in a lawsuit
Attorney-at-law Raini Nõu successfully represented a client in a civil case which has been a dispute since 2017 and about whether an electric vehicle with a hidden defect was sold to the client. By following the guidelines given by the Supreme Court in 2020 decision (which annulled the earlier judgment of second instance), the Tallinn Circuit Court made a new decision and granted both the plaintiff’s appeal and the lawsuit and annulled the first instance decision. This meant that the seller of the vehicle was ordered to pay the purchase price, interest, the cost of the transportation of the vehicle abroad, pre-litigation legal aid costs, postal expenses and interest on various costs respectively in favour of the buyer. By the district court’s decision, the procedural costs of the court proceeding were left to the defendant.
The Circuit Court agreed with the plaintiff that the vehicle did not comply with the contract terms (i.e. the vehicle could not deliver 100 km of range on a single charge; the problem was with one electrical element of the battery) and the seller was responsible for it. The court agreed with the plaintiff that they were able to prove (contrary to the conclusion of the county court) that the defect already existed when the vehicle was handed over to the carrier in Estonia. The Circuit Court also agreed that the seller’s breach of contract was significant (incl. the seller did not repair the vehicle within a reasonable time). Since the vehicle that was sold was transported from Estonia to a foreign country, it is important to note that, according to the circuit court, the transport costs of the vehicle had to be borne by the seller both to Estonia (in order to be able to repair the vehicle) and back to the foreign country. Since the seller unjustifiably refused to bear the transport costs in pre-litigation procedure, the repair was therefore not carried out for the seller’s reasons and therefore the buyer was entitled to withdraw from the sales contract.
The Circuit Court shared the plaintiff’s view that the buyer’s 2016 sales contract requirement (which was sent both electronically and as a registered letter) must be considered as received by the seller. The court found that the defendant did not explain or prove why the person entitled to represent the legal person was unable to pick up the registered letter from the post office and was therefore returned to the sender.
The Circuit Court disagreed with the county court which stated that the buyer did not give the seller a reasonable deadline for the removal of the defect in the letter of claim for the performance of the 08.09.2016 contract. Since the seller did not respond to this legal document submitted by the buyer and did not indicate in court proceedings that he had been given too little time to repair the car, the board stated that it was irrelevant in the current dispute it was irrelevant whether or not a reasonable period had expired for the performance of the contract as of 10.11.2016 (when the application for withdrawal from the sales contract was submitted).