Dutch Collective Settlements

In a development with significant implications both for Petrobras investor claims and for the global pursuit of investor claims generally, a Dutch court has accepted jurisdiction for a securities fraud action filed in the Netherlands against Petrobras, and also ruled that the arbitration clause in Petrobras’s bylaws do not preclude the Dutch proceeding. As discussed below, the court’s rulings could have important global ramifications for the viability of Dutch procedures for investors seeking collective redress, even (as is the case in the Petrobras action) with respect to companies based outside of the Netherlands.
Continue Reading Dutch Court OKs Petrobras Claim Jurisdiction Despite Brazilian Arbitration Clause

As I have previously noted on this blog (most recently here), one of the most significant recent developments in the D&O claims arena has been the global rise of collective investor actions. One factor in this development in Europe has been the non-binding 2013 Collective Redress Recommendation, in which the European Commission recommended that each of the EU’s 28 member states adopt collective redress mechanisms. Many of the member states have now adopted some form of collective redress but the approaches the various states have taken are not uniform.

In an October 24, 2017 publication entitled “Collective Redress Tourism: Preventing Forum Shopping in the EU” (here), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Forum asks whether the diversity of procedures adopted, and in particular the diversity of safeguards the member states have put in place, along with litigants’ relative freedom to choose between jurisdictions, has led to potentially detrimental forum shopping. The publication raises a number of interesting questions, which I discuss below.
Continue Reading Has the Rise of Collective Investor Actions in Europe Led to Forum Shopping?

jonthan richman
Jonathan Richman

As collective investor actions have become an increasingly global phenomenon, a recurring question has been whether another jurisdiction will emerge as the preferred forum for aggrieved investors to pursue their claims. Among the countries often mentioned in this context it the Netherlands, owing to the country’s collective settlement procedures. In a recent post, I noted a September 2016 decision from the Amsterdam District Court and suggested that the court’s jurisdictional ruling could diminish the usefulness and appeal of the Dutch collective settlement procedures. In the following guest post, Jonathan Richman of the Proskauer Rose law firm clarifies that the Dutch court’s ruling pertained to the country’s collective action procedures, not the separate collective settlement procedures, and that, contrary to my blog post’s suggestion, the court’s jurisdictional ruling arguably does not diminish the collective settlement procedures’ utility. I would like to thank Jonathan for his willingness to publish his article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Jonathan’s guest post.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Dutch Collective Actions vs. Collective Settlements

netherlandsAs the rise of collective investor actions has gone global, one of the questions that has arisen is whether a country other than the U.S. would become a preferred forum in which investors might pursue their claims, even investors from outside the forum country. Australia is among the countries that have been suggested. Another country that has comes up in this conversation is The Netherlands, which recently was the location of a massive investor settlement. Investors angered by several high profile scandals in other countries have also filed claims in The Netherlands. All of these developments have added to the suggestion that The Netherlands may be becoming a preferred forum for investor actions from around the world.

However, a recent court decision in an investor action filed in the Netherlands against BP and arising out of the Deepwater Horizon platform disaster may suggest that Netherlands collective action procedures may not be available for  investors seeking to recover purely financial losses where the alleged wrongdoing took place outside the Netherlands and there are no other factors connecting the case to Netherlands.
Continue Reading Dutch Court Dismisses Collective Investor Action Against BP on Jurisdictional Grounds

globeAs I noted in my recent round up of current trends in the world of D&O, one of the most important recent developments in the D&O claims arena has been the rise of collective investor actions outside of the U.S.  I amplified on this theme in a Q&A that I also recently published on this site.  In a recent blog post, Columbia Law Professor John Coffee underscored the recent significant rise in collective investor actions in Europe and Asia. In a September 19, 2016 post on the CLS Blue Sky Blog entitled “The Globalization of Securities Litigation” (here), Professor Coffee details how entrepreneurial U.S.-based plaintiffs’ law firms have managed to circumvent apparent local obstacles and succeed in pursuing collective investor actions even in otherwise inhospitable legal environments. As I have previously noted and as I discuss further below, the rise of collective investor actions outside the U.S. is one of the most significant recent developments in the global D&O claims arena.
Continue Reading The Global Rise in Collective Investor Actions

netherlandsIn what is by far the largest investor settlement ever under the Dutch collective settlement procedures, several shareholder foundations have reached an agreement to settle the Fortis shareholder claims for a total of €1.204 billion ($1.3 billion). The shareholder foundations’ settlement with Ageas, as Fortis is now known, relates to Fortis’s ill-fated October 2007 participation in the ABN AMRO acquisition just before the global financial crisis. Under a parallel settlement, €290 million ($313 million) of the shareholder settlement will be funded by Fortis’s D&O insurers. The shareholder settlement is subject to the approval of the Amsterdam Court of Appeals. This massive settlement undoubtedly will boost current initiatives by the shareholders of other companies – such as VW, Tesco, and Petrobras – to use the Dutch collective settlement procedures to secure collective investor relief.

A copy of Ageas’s March 14, 2016 press release about the shareholder settlement can be found here. Ageas’s March 14, 2016 press release about the insurance settlement can be found here. The website that Ageas has established for shareholders regarding the settlement can be found here.
Continue Reading Massive $1.3 Billion Settlement of Fortis Investor Actions Under Dutch Collective Settlement Procedures

vw2Several years ago, when investors’ representatives used class claims settlement procedures available under Netherlands law to reach securities claim settlements involving Royal Dutch Shell (about which refer here) and Converium (about which refer here), there was a great deal of speculation whether the Dutch procedures could become an important vehicle for aggrieved investors to recover damages for alleged securities law violations.

This speculation was particularly magnified after the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, in connection with the Converium settlement, held that the Dutch settlement procedures could be used to resolve securities claims of non-Dutch investors against a non-Dutch company, in the form of judgment that is enforceable throughout the EU and among other European countries. Though many of these kinds of investor settlements were anticipated, the onslaught of securities settlements using the Dutch procedures never really did materialize.

However, a new initiative being organized in The Netherlands on behalf of Volkswagen securities holders whose investment interests were harmed as a result of the automobile company’s emissions-related scandal may represent the most significant effort since the Converium case to try to use the Netherlands procedures on behalf of an aggrieved class of investors. This initiative on behalf of Volkswagen’s securityholders has a number of interesting features. It also raises a number of potentially complicated questions about jurisdiction, priority, potential preemption, and international comity.
Continue Reading Dutch Shareholder Foundation Seeks to Represent Global Class of VW Investors