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Private Enforcement in Europe Takes Major Step with Hausfeld Brussels OpeningMichelin Group Europe General Counsel Laurent Geelhand to be firm’s Brussels Managing Partner
Leading claimant litigation law firm Hausfeld has today opened in Brussels with the appointment of Michelin Group Europe General Counsel Laurent Geelhand, in a move that will substantially augment its renowned competition litigation practice.
Laurent joins Hausfeld as Managing Partner of the Brussels office after 16 years with Michelin. Acknowledged as one of the stars of the in-house antitrust bar, he is a veteran of the automotive industry and an authority in the fields of antitrust and cross-border litigation.
At Michelin, Laurent pioneered private enforcement efforts, turning the firm’s European legal department into a profit centre by systematically pursuing actions against suppliers and recovering close to EUR 100m from cartel infringements since 2003.
Laurent Geelhand comments:
“Being a claimant in antitrust proceedings is a wise decision. Companies are bound by corporate duty to their shareholders to retrieve overcharges and lost profit. Most in Europe are missing out on millions by not recovering from suppliers who engage in cartels or abuse of dominant market positions. It is not a declaration of war, but there is a duty to the shareholders to be compensated. Such actions also act as a significant deterrent to future antitrust violations.”
The opening of Hausfeld’s Brussels office anticipates the European Parliament’s imminent approval of a Directive on Antitrust Damages Actions that will help companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of the EU antitrust rules. It marks a sea change in Europe where many executives have long been reluctant to sue suppliers, and victimised businesses have failed to pursue compensation.
Laurent Geelhand explains:
“The Directive is great news for European businesses harmed by antitrust violations. When it is adopted and implemented obtaining redress will become easier, especially after a competition authority has found and sanctioned an infringement.
“This is likely to further stimulate a culture of private antitrust enforcement in Europe, and will have real significance for all companies that have suffered loss as a result of competition infringement.
“Private enforcement constitutes by far the most important development of European antitrust law of the last ten years. This, combined with the appointment of new EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, is likely to create the perfect storm for cartelists who will no longer be able to get away with overcharging customers.”
Hausfeld has been at the forefront of the development of private enforcement, both in the UK and across Europe, enabling victims of cartel conduct to obtain redress that was previously not available. The firm has established a unique and market-changing litigation funding structure that allows corporates that have suffered losses as a result of competition law infringements to pursue legal actions with little or no risk. Over the past 18 months, Hausfeld has recovered in excess of EUR100m for its clients.
Laurent Geelhand comments:
“Hausfeld was the first to realise the importance of private enforcement and the firm continues to spearhead its application in exciting and innovative ways. Hausfeld has one of the best reputations in antitrust and joining them in Brussels was an obvious decision.”
Christopher Rother, head of Deutsche Bahn’s Regulatory, Competition and Antitrust department comments:
“I am delighted to learn that Laurent is joining Hausfeld. He has been a true market leader in private enforcement in the EC and his move to an elite private enforcement firm will give him the opportunity to use his knowledge for the benefit of corporates who are following in his, and Michelin's, stead.”
Anthony Maton, London Managing Partner at Hausfeld, adds:
“Hausfeld is the leading claimant law firm in the area of private enforcement, where we have been responsible for bringing some of the largest and most high-profile claims in Europe over the past five years. We have the largest dedicated global private enforcement team and the arrival of Laurent, and launch of the Brussels office, will help us to further grow our European footprint and build upon our successes to date.
“We are confident that there is much more we can do to assist European corporates in obtaining the redress to which they are entitled.”
Hausfeld’s new office will be located at 1 Rue Camille Lemonnier, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Bruce Wraight / Ryan McSharry
Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 1430
NOTES TO EDITORS
Hausfeld is a leading litigation practice. The firm has a broad range of commercial litigation expertise, with particular expertise in Competition and Antitrust (particularly follow-on damages claims), Financial Services, Consumer and Human Rights law, often with an international dimension. Hausfeld aims to achieve the best possible results for clients through its practical and commercial approach, avoiding litigation where feasible, yet litigating robustly when necessary. Its extensive experience of alternative litigation funding structures allows clients maximum flexibility in terms of managing their exposure to costs risks.
Hausfeld was also named the most innovative law firm in dispute resolution at the Financial Times’ FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2013.
For more information, please visit: www.hausfeld.com.