The highest-profile attempt to utilize the new U.K. regime for consumer class actions has come to a grinding halt. The case involved a claim alleging that MasterCard’s fee structure had resulted in overcharges to tens of millions of U.K. consumers. On July 21, 2017, the Competition Appeal Tribunal, newly re-organized to oversee the consumer class action regime, declined to grant the necessary collective proceedings order that would have allowed the action to go forward. The tribunal’s ruling is highly fact-specific and its decision to decline the collective proceedings order very much reflects the specific features of the claims against MasterCard, but the ruling nevertheless does raise concerns about the viability of the class action regime and its attractiveness to prospective claimants in other cases. A copy of the Tribunal’s July 21, 2017 order can be found here.
Continue Reading U.K. Court Halts Effort to Use New Opt-Out Class Action Procedures

eu flagIn prior posts (for example, here), I have described the rise of collective investor actions outside of the U.S. as one of the most important current developments in the world of directors and officers liability. The rise of these collective investor suits is not happening in a vacuum; the growth in the number and size of these kinds of lawsuits is part of a larger upsurge in collective actions generally. According to a recent Report, collective redress actions represent a “growing business” in Europe, and the “volume and value of the cases being filed is on a steep upward curve.”

The Report, a detailed and interesting March 2017 publication by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Legal Reform entitled “The Growth of Collective Redress in the EU: A Survey of Developments in 10 Member States” (here) takes an anxious and uneasy look at the changes in the collective action environment in Europe, and proposes several recommendations as ways for countries to avoid abuses that the report contends have arisen elsewhere.  The Institute’s March 21, 2017 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading The Steep Rise of Collective Actions in Europe

MasterCardThere have been few more powerful forces acting recently on the litigation environment around the world than third-party litigation financing. The recent rise of litigation funding, often accompanied by the active involvement of U.S. law firms, is changing the face of litigation in numerous countries. The collective action to be filed against MasterCard later this summer in the U.K. by U.S. law firm Quinn Emanuel, in an initiative being financed by Chicago-based litigation funding firm Gerchen Keller Capital LLC, is the latest and highest profile example of this trends. Indeed, the anticipated MasterCard action in some ways reflects the coming together of many of the important global litigation trends, as discussed below. The Quinn Emanuel law firm’s July 2016 press release about the planned lawsuit can be found here. Julie Triedman’s July 6, 2016 American Lawyer article entitled “Quinn Emanuel, Litigation Funder Team Up for Landmark $25B MasterCard Fight” can be found here.
Continue Reading Global Litigation Trend Lines Converge in Massive U.K. Collective Action Competition Claim Against MasterCard

vwThe recent revelation that Volkswagen had been using a sophisticated software “defeat device” to rig the emissions performance of some of its diesel-engine base vehicles devastated the price of the company’s shares, leading to the filing of a securities class action lawsuit in the U.S. on behalf of purchasers of the company’s ADRs, as well the initiation of efforts to launch procedures in the Netherlands on behalf of VW shareholders who purchased the company’s shares through a Dutch bank or broker.

In my recent post discussing these VW-related securities litigation developments, I raised the question whether investors might also try to file a separate action against VW in Germany, under German law, on behalf of shareholders who purchased their VW shares in Germany. It now appears that a litigation funding firm’s effort to organize a German shareholder action is already underway.
Continue Reading Litigation Funding Firm Announces German Securities Action on Behalf of Volkswagen’s German Shareholders

uk flagIs collective action litigation in the U.K. about to get a significant boost? That is the question many are asking as the new collective action regime introduced by the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 goes into effect on October 1, 2015. The Act’s provisions facilitate collective proceedings for competition law breaches before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (the CAT), by granting the CAT the power to grant collective proceedings orders and to grant collective settlement orders. As discussed in a September 30, 2015 memo from the Allen & Overy law firm (here), these changes have raised concerns that the new regime will “lead to a surge of U.S.-style class actions in the U.K.”
Continue Reading A New U.K. Class Action Litigation Wave?

In a May 13, 2013 order (here), Southern District of New York Judge Shira Scheindlin granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the Libor-scandal related securities suit that had been filed against Barclays and two of its former executives following the company’s entry into a massive Libor-related settlement last summer. The suit’s dismissal is just

Although the class action lawsuit is most often associated with the litigious legal culture in the United States, the fact is that in recent years class action and other group litigation procedures have been expanding around the world. Forces of globalization and the rise of organized groups of aggrieved claimants have encourage a host of

Among the many consequences of an increasingly global economy is that investor interest in pursuing claims for securities wrongdoing has become a more nearly universal phenomenon. While collective-style lawsuits largely had been restricted to claims in U.S. courts under U.S. law, a growing list of countries are adopting at least some elements of U.S.-style securities