The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has today (29 October) laid down a marker in the ongoing trucks cartel dispute, giving the go ahead for claimants to bring their case to court through litigation funding.
The truck cartel dispute concerns six of the world’s largest truck manufacturers facing collective action claims. The European Commission dealt a €2.9bn fine in July 2016 for price fixing, which led the way for compensation claims from those who purchased or leased trucks from 1997 onwards.
The CAT hearing concerned whether the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and UK Trucks Claims (UKTC) could pursue their claims through litigation funding provided by Therium Litigation Funding and Calunius Capital. The ruling in favour of the applicants now brings the case closer to a substantive hearing in court.
The truck manufacturers claimed the funding agreement entered into by the RHA was an unlawful damages-based agreement (DBAs) and the RHA did not have significant enough funding to pursue collective proceedings while the after-the-event insurance cover of £20m was insufficient.
However, the CAT dismissed the arguments in a significant decision for third party funders and the claimants alike, with third party funding agreements not to be considered DBAs. Though the ruling means the CAT can now proceed to hear the remainder of the case, this will not take place until a judgment has been reached in the heavyweight Merricks/Mastercard collective action.
The CAT hearing saw PJ Kirby QC of Hardwicke Chambers and Rhodri Thompson QC of Matrix Chambers among those representing the respective claimants, with Kirby instructed by Blackhouse Jones partner Steven Meyerhoff and Addleshaw Goddard partner Mark Molyneux. Thompson was instructed by Weightmans partner Tristan Feunteun.
The defendants included Daimler, DAF, Iveco and MAN, who were represented by Fountain Court’s Bankim Thanki QC and Brick Court Chambers’ Tony Singla and Tom Pascoe among others. They were instructed by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Boris Bronfentrinker as well as Travers Smith partner Caroline Edwards and Herbert Smith Freehills partners Kim Dietzel and Gregg Rowan.
The case has brought together some of the biggest names in disputes, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May among the others enlisted to defend the manufacturers. Meanwhile, Addleshaws, Weightmans, Hausfeld and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner feature in representing the claimants.