A class action case has failed in its second attempt to bring an action for damages against HeidelbergCement as court rules it a ‘legacy case’.
Belgian company Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) had bought claims from parties who allegedly suffered losses from the cement cartel and were seeking compensation of hundreds of millions.
First attempts to obtain damages had been unsuccessful on account of antitrust violations from the cement manufacturers before the Düsseldorf Regional and Higher Regional Courts.
The Mannheim Regional Court has now also dismissed CDC's action.
In its judgment, the Mannheim Regional Court endorsed the view that the rule of suspension of section 33(5) Act Against Restraints of Competition cannot - given the clear and unambiguous wording of the provision and the underlying system - be applied to what are known as ‘legacy cases’. This meant that the claims had become statute-barred, regardless of various further objections.
Implications for private anti-trust litigation in EU
The Mannheim Regional Court's judgment has significant implications for private antitrust litigation in Germany and other EU Member States.
In November 2016, the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court already had to rule on an action brought by an individual cement buyer and determined that Act Against Restraints of Competition does not apply to "legacy cases".
An appeal on points of law has in the meantime been filed against this judgment with the Federal Court of Justice.
HeidelbergCement is being advised by a Gleiss Lutz team comprising Dr Ulrich Denzel, Dr Andrea Leufgen, Dr Carsten Klöppner and Dr. Florian Wagner.