Published On: Sat, Feb 5th, 2022

Supreme Court rules against SZV in contract-dispute

PHILIPSBURG — In February 2020 the Common Court of Justice ruled in favor of Social and Health Insurances SZV in a contract-dispute with E’s Solutions and ordered the company to repay SZV 1,757,550 guilders ($976,417). SZV had paid this amount to E’s based on a different ruling from the Court in First Instance. Now the Supreme Court has annulled the appeals court decision of February 14, 2020, stating that it is “incomprehensible.” The court will now have to handle the case for a second time. SZV has to pay the costs for the procedure at the Supreme Court, around $10,900.

The owner of E’s Solutions is Eunicio Martina, who was Chef de Cabinet under former Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever.

On July 10, 2015, SZV signed an umbrella contract with E’s Solutions for the provision of advice in the fields of governance, risk management and compliance. On March 1, 2016, parties signed an engagement letter for four sub-projects.

On July 6, 2016, SZV terminated the umbrella contract and it asked the court to dissolve the engagement letter because it was of the opinion that E’s had fallen short of its obligations. After July 6, there were no more contacts between SZV and E’s Solutions and the company stopped working for SZV.

E’s went to court and demanded 1.8 million guilders compensation for the untimely termination of the contract. On June 12, the court granted E’s Solutions 1.7 million guilders in compensation.

That was not the end of the story, because the Common Court of Justice ruled on February 14, 2020, in SZV’s favor, stating that the engagement letter had been terminated with mutual agreement without granting any compensation.

“It is incomprehensible that the appeals court has ruled that E’s is not entitled to compensation and that the engagement letter was terminated with mutual agreement,” the conclusion of the Supreme Court states. “This is not in line with the fact that SZV has terminated the umbrella agreement and that, according to the Common Court of Justice, E’s did not fall short of its contractual obligations. E’s was also prepared to execute the contract,” the Supreme Court notes.

Justices Du Perron, Salomons and Makkink furthermore note that the judgment from the Common Court of Justice is “incomprehensible if it is of the opinion that the termination (of the engagement letter) by SZV cannot be labeled as early termination by not terminating it directly but by asking the court to dissolve the agreement.”

The Supreme Court annulled the Common Court of Justice-ruling and sent the case back for renewed handling.

Read further: SZV wins million-dollar court case in appeal, or did it?