Legal Business

RHA secures Therium funding for claimants in £3.9bn trucks cartel class action

RHA secures Therium funding for claimants in £3.9bn trucks cartel class action

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has secured full funding from Therium Capital for its £3.9bn competition damages class action against truck manufacturers fined the highest-ever sum for a price-fixing cartel, as it seeks more UK claimants to join the case.

The RHA currently has 41,000 truck owners ready to bring the claim, but it is estimated that 600,000 trucks in the UK have been affected by a European price-fixing cartel which took place between 1997 and 2011. The RHA are seeking more claimants before issuing the claim at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).

The world’s largest truck makers Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Paccar, Inveco and Volkswagen’s MAN all admitted to taking part in the cartel in June 2016. The following month, the European Commission fined the manufacturers £2.6bn for breaching competition law. During the cartel period, the cartelist artifically inflated costs of trucks and passing on the cost of environmental compliance to consumers.

The RHA claim is ‘fully funded’ by litigation funder Therium Capital and is open to haulage firms even if they are not RHA members. Transport specialist law firm Backhouse Jones acts for the RHA, led by partner Steven Meyerhoff. Exchange Chambers’ David Went, Mark Cawson QC and Stephen Connolly are instructed, with Brick Court Chambers’ James Flynn QC.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Boris Bronfentrinker is instructed on Daimler’s defence in the UK, while Freshfields’ head of global antitrust litigation Jon Lawrence and partner Bea Tormey are co-ordinating defences for claims against Volvo-owned Renault in the UK and several EU jurisdictions.

Inveco has instructed Herbert Smith Freehills partner Kim Dietzel. MAN has instructed Slaughter and May.

Therium is also backing a UK group legal action against VW, which currently includes 41,000 car owners.

Royal Mail are bringing a separate but related claim in the UK against truck-maker Paccar for its role in the same cartel. The mail company have instructed Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Andrew Hockley and Edward Coulson.


Legal Business

Suspicious minds


Third-party litigation funding has yet to really take off, despite being around for five years. While a mature market is still some way away, litigation specialists are finally seeing that self-funding is not the only way forward.

Big-ticket disputes in the public sphere and funded by a third party are rare. The biggest case in the UK to date came in 2008 and featured an £89m negligence claim brought by Stone & Rolls against audit firm Moore Stephens. The dispute was driven by Norton Rose’s Sam Eastwood for client Stone & Rolls and was funded by IM Litigation Funding. The case was thrown out by the House of Lords as part of its grand finale in 2009, gifting a massive victory to Barlow Lyde & Gilbert client Moore Stephens.