Competition Litigation

Competition Litigation

Damages claims resulting from violations of EU and national competition law play an increasingly prominent role in the context of company liability. Competition law is no longer used solely by competition authorities to impose administrative sanctions, but also in private enforcement proceedings by private parties under civil law.

A number of key judgments of the European Court of Justice, new legislative initiatives and a growing awareness among injured parties of the possibility to claim compensation have all contributed to this development.

  • recommendation people shaking hands
    Houthoff’s department is ‘very responsive’ and ‘really knows the industry’, with particular expertise in enforcement and technology-related competition issues. 
    Legal 500, EU and Competition (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘easily accessible’ team at Houthoff Buruma is well equipped to handle the full range of competition matters, both contentious and non-contentious."
     
    Legal 500, EU and competition (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    ”The team has great knowledge of our industry, the legal environment and the processes. The lawyers react very quickly, coming up with understandable positions when responding to certain developments."
     
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Its knowledge of the market combined with its knowledge of the legal thresholds is very useful, and the lawyers are very responsive."
     
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Houthoff Buruma has the size and experience to handle the full range of competition law matters."
     
    Legal 500, EU and Competition (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "I think they have very broad expertise; there is always someone in the firm who can help you with a question. They're quick to respond."
     
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Chambers Global & Europe, Dispute Resolution (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Chambers Global & Europe, Dispute Resolution (2016 Edition)
Nowadays, companies that have been fined by a competition authority need to give serious consideration to the possibility that collective ‘follow-on actions’ by injured parties may ensue in the civil courts. The Netherlands has one of the most popular legal systems for bringing such collective follow-on claims. These claims can have a real impact on operations and further damage the reputations of the companies concerned. Preventing or minimising such follow-on damage requires carefully considered litigation and negotiation strategies, as well as legal and financial expertise.

Our experienced Competition Litigation Team has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience in these areas. They work closely with the client to determine the best strategy for bringing the case to a satisfactory close. Where necessary, they also engage the assistance of our experts on substantive competition law.
  • Car importers usually appoint two types of repairers: those that also sell new vehicles on the basis of a dealer agreement and stand-alone repairers, that only repair vehicles. Obviously, the temptation for the latter to also sell new vehicles is big. In a recent case, where a Hyundai repairer sold new vehicles without a dealer agreement, the importer terminated the repairer agreement for cause. The repairer subsequently challenged the validity of the termination, arguing that he acted as an intermediary. Houthoff successfully defended the position of the Hyundai importer; the termination was upheld.

  • Houthoff is representing a major European truck manufacturer in its defence against a number of announced cartel damages mass claims to be submitted by associations of haulier companies.
  • Houthoff is advising a foreign bank on its defence against announced class actions for damages as a follow-on to several alleged cartels regarding InterBank Offering Rates.
  • Houthoff is representing a European oil company in its defence against third party cartel damages claims submitted by a bitumen purchaser claiming damages allegedly suffered as a result of the bitumen cartel.
  • Houthoff is representing a South Korean listed electronics manufacturer in its defence against several cartel damages claims submitted by major CRT purchasers regarding the manufacture of television screens and computer monitors.
  • Houthoff is representing an air cargo carrier in several proceedings in its defence against an accumulated number of cartel damages claims submitted by claim vehicles Equilib, EWD, and Stichting Cartel Compensation (SCC) as follow-on to the alleged air cargo cartel. In 2010 and 2017, the European Commission issued fines totalling almost EUR 800 million to 11 airlines for participating in an air cargo cartel with regard to surcharges for over a six year period.
  • Houthoff is representing Kemira in private enforcement proceedings initiated by the mass claim vehicle Cartel Damages Claims (CDC) as a follow-on to the sodium chlorate cartel.
  • Representing an Asian listed electronics manufacturer in its defence against several cartel damages claim, brought manufacturer of televisions and computer monitors. The plaintiff claimed damages allegedly caused by the CPT and CDT cartel.
  • Representing a European oil company in its defence against cartel damages claims submitted by a purchaser claiming damages allegedly cause by the bitumen cartel.
Our experts are also called upon to assist in ‘stand-alone cases’: cases brought before the civil courts based on a violation of the competition rules, without the violation first being established by a competition authority in administrative proceedings. This involves not only damages claims, but also, for example, actions to access a particular distribution system or to end an abuse of dominance.

Houthoff’s Competition Litigation Team is involved in many of the foremost follow-on and stand-alone cases concerning private enforcement currently before the Dutch courts. A list of the most recent is provided above.
Albert Knigge

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Managing Partner
+31 20 605 65 62
+31 6 5184 5323
Weyer VerLoren van Themaat

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 83
+31 6 5365 5833
Rick Cornelissen

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Counsel
+31 20 605 65 30
+31 6 5184 5353