By Matthew Perlman
Law360 (April 30, 2019, 6:50 PM EDT) — Plaintiff-side law firm Scott & Scott Attorneys at Law LLP plans to open an office in the Netherlands to focus on competition and securities cases for its corporate and institutional investor clients.
The firm said Monday it is set to launch Scott & Scott Europe BV on June 1 with an office in Amsterdam that is expected to initially house between four and six attorneys. Managing Partner David Scott told Law360 on Tuesday that the firm is expanding in the Netherlands because its Europe-based clients have been saying they want to avail themselves of the Dutch legal system.
But, he said, the move will also help provide monitoring and advice for institutional clients that are based in the U.S. with investments abroad.
“Really it’s client-driven,” Scott said. “The clients are clamoring for this, that’s why we did it.”
The U.K. has been the primary landing ground for private antitrust enforcement actions since a 2014 European Union directive made it easier for parties impacted by anti-competitive conduct to recover damages. But as Brexit looms, Scott said, the Dutch government has been making a push to improve conditions for litigants in that jurisdiction.
This included launching the Netherlands Commercial Court earlier this year, which is focused on international business disputes and conducts all proceedings in English.
“We’re still very bullish on the U.K., but we recognize that the Netherlands has seized the moment and is really moving forward towards making it a very claimant-friendly jurisdiction,” Scott said.
The Dutch legal system also provides a way for parties to implement collective settlement agreements that apply to all potential class members across the EU on an opt-out basis. In addition, Scott said, Dutch law allows for special claims vehicles where a party can assign their claims to another entity that litigates on their behalf.
“This shows the flexibility that the Dutch legal system allows,” Scott said.
In a statement Monday, Jerome Cloarec, head of global antitrust for the Michelin Group, said the expansion is being done in the right place.
“We are pleased to see the firm expanding its European presence, especially to the Netherlands, which is one of the top European jurisdictions for claimants,” Cloarec said. “This move will greatly benefit any multinational client seeking losses from anticompetitive conduct.”
Scott & Scott currently has one case in the Netherlands, which stemmed from a 2014 decision by the European Commission to fine several manufacturers of high-voltage power cables, as well as Goldman Sachs, a total of €302 million ($416 million) for orchestrating a global cartel. The firm’s clients in that case include the GCC Interconnection Authority, the Electricity & Water Authority of the Government of Bahrain and the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water.
In the U.K., Scott & Scott is currently representing companies including Hermès, GrandVision and Vodafone in lawsuits against Visa and Mastercard over allegations that the fees imposed on credit and debit card transactions violate competition law. In the U.S., the firm is serving as co-lead counsel for a nationwide class that’s scored $2.3 billion in settlements over claims that more than a dozen banks colluded to rig benchmark exchange rates in the foreign exchange markets.
Globally, Scott & Scott has about 100 attorneys with existing offices in New York, Connecticut, California, Ohio and London. In addition to its competition and securities work, the firm handles arbitration, data privacy and consumer actions.
–Additional reporting by Richard Crump. Editing by Abbie Sarfo.