British companies urged to join group action against truck cartel
British road hauliers are being encouraged to join a legal action against five lorry manufacturers after EU competition watchdogs convicted them of operating a cartel.
Lawyers estimate that the claim will be valued at hundreds of millions of pounds with claimant businesses joining the action from across Europe.
The London office of Hausfeld, a US law firm, is leading the action and said yesterday that it had obtained third-party funding to finance the claim. A joint statement from the lawyers and Burford Capital said the funding package would support claimants suing in the wake of the European Commission’s ruling a year ago.
The five lorry manufacturers – Daimler, Volvo/Renault, Iveco, MAN and DAF – were handed record-breaking fines amounting to €2.9 billion. Brussels authorities found that the five had co-ordinated the pricing of trucks between 1997 and 2011, the timing of the introduction of low-emission technologies and the passing on to customers of the costs for emissions technologies. Another manufacturer, Scania, remains under investigation.
According to Hausfeld and Burford, any business across the European Economic Area that purchased or leased medium-duty or heavy-duty trucks from any of the five companies can claim compensation. They say the claim would be for any loss suffered as a result of the higher prices that they had to pay for trucks as a result of price fixing, together with interest since the date of purchase.
Scott Campbell, a Hausfeld partner in London, told The Brief that more than ten UK businesses had joined the action and that scores of companies around Europe were also on board. He anticipated that the firm would issue proceedings against the five manufactures on behalf of the claimants before the end of the year.